Why manufacturing matters to the UK economy.

“The UK doesn’t manufacture much anymore”, “Everything is being made abroad nowadays” and “There are no jobs out there” are probably some examples you’ve heard many times before and maybe to some it would be quite astonishing to hear that they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Manufacturing is thriving, and it contributes £6.7 trillion to the Global economy!

In fact, the UK is currently the eighth largest industrial nation and there’s indication that if trends continue, then the UK will break in to the top 5 by the year 2021 and Hobut will be flying the flag with continuing investments, new products and employment in the local community.

Take a look at our past Blog which gives an interesting read about the Future of British manufacturing.

According to the House of Commons Briefing Paper it stated that UK Manufacturing accounted for;

  • 8% of jobs, 2.7 million in total
  • £177 billion of economic output (10% of the UK total)
  • 57% of exports, worth £243 billion
  • 70% (£15 billion) of UK Research & Development spending

Why Manufacture in the UK?

We take a look at the Strengths and Capabilities in UK Manufacturing

As globalisation has gathered pace, the characteristics of UK manufacturing have changed significantly.

Much of the activity in modern day manufacturing involves high levels of technological and non-technological innovation and investment in skills, knowledge and intangible investment such as branding, software, marketing and training. This has led to the development of new, better quality and more sophisticated products, and more innovative business models and processes.

In common with leading manufacturing countries such as Japan, Germany and the United States, the UK has increasingly specialised in higher-technology manufacturing industries such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals. This compares with emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India and China which have specialised to a greater extent in lower technology industries such as textiles.

Over time, the competitive advantage of different countries in dynamic industries characterised by high levels of innovation and technological progress will change as new improved products are developed and brought to market.

It is therefore important to consider also the UK’s current strengths in different areas of technology as they can provide a useful indication of where the country’s competitive advantages could lie in the future. Current patent activity suggests that the UK is presently relatively strong in the areas of organic chemistry, biotechnology/ pharmaceuticals and medical technology and weaker in the areas of electronics, optics and nano-technology and information technology.

Faced with increased competition from emerging economies, UK manufacturers must continue to develop their productive capabilities in order to remain internationally competitive. The UK compares well against the leading industrialised countries on various measures of innovation including research and development and investment in intangible assets.

The proportion of firms which are exporting is also increasing in many manufacturing industries. Engaging in other markets can prove highly beneficial for UK manufacturers since it enables them to keep at the forefront of ongoing developments in innovation and technology through greater exposure to new ideas and knowledge and access to customers/ suppliers and skills around the world.

Our Conclusion

The future of manufacturing is somewhat optimistic.

With advancement in technology, the Year of Engineering #YoE and the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4IR, alongside the creation of highly skilled, high paid jobs, which sees manufacturing outperforming earnings compared to  the rest of the economy, the attraction to choose this industry as a career path will be very high and as a result people will want to come and manufacture in the UK.

The infographic is a great way of seeing the statistics split by region. Hobut’s West Midlands home sees itself at 11% of the regional employment with the figure at 323,000 people. Hobut are proud to be responsible for a share of this and we are excited for the future of manufacturing in the UK.

Let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you;

Do you agree with the recent trends for growth?

Do you feel that Brexit will have an effect on important trade links?