Knowledge and skills that unlock growth and prosperity

Our universities will drive greater growth and prosperity through the knowledge and skills they generate, creating places that allow communities to flourish.

Universities UK will:

Ensure that our universities are central to developing the skilled workforce needed for the future, increasing productivity, driving prosperity and supplying the needs of public service professions in the UK and internationally.

Make it easier for and more likely that knowledge emerging from our universities generates innovation in businesses, charities and public services, helping to make the UK more economically competitive.

Maximise the role of our universities in attracting domestic and international talent and investment into the UK, their regions, and their communities.

Increase recognition of the role our universities play in driving economic growth and prosperity and creating thriving places.

2030 challenges
and opportunities

Meeting the UK’s skills needs

The UK’s future prosperity depends on our people having the necessary skills. Our universities are essential to delivering these skills. The number of roles that require high-level skills and a degree is set to grow as technological transformation dramatically changes the nature of work. Our universities will need to respond flexibly to these new challenges.

Our universities will also be central to training employees in the public services, such as nurses, medical specialists, and teachers.


additional graduates needed in workforce by 2035


additional NHS England workers trained each year by 2031 under workforce plan


current jobs with high probability  of automation by 2031

Supporting other organisations to flourish and driving growth

After a period of stagnant economic growth, stimulating growth is an important national mission. Universities will be essential to this mission and are set up to deliver it.

It has been shown that since the financial crisis of 2008, human capital development (driven by educational attainment) is the only input factor making a positive and consistent contribution to growth.

Over the coming years, our universities will provide billions worth of support to businesses, the public sector, charities and other organisations all over the UK. This support will provide the knowledge for our industries and communities to prosper, unlocking economic growth, improved health and quality of life, and cultural value.


estimated support to businesses and other organisations 2024–30


UK forecast for growth in 2023

With thanks to Anglia Ruskin University, Brunel University London, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Coventry University, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Nottingham Trent University and the Royal College of Art for supplying images.

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