In this report we aim to ascertain the perceptions of manufacturers and the public towards the value, role and input of Government in the growth of this valuable economic sector.
2012 was the second year of the Institution’s Engineered in Britain campaign, which aims to promote the value of engineering and manufacturing to the health and wealth of the UK’s economy.
As with the 2011 Engineered in Britain survey, we sought the views of 1,000 professional engineers (referred to as ‘manufacturers’ in this survey). In addition, to ensure the research was balanced, a poll was also conducted of 1,000 members of the general public.
Both polls were undertaken independently and anonymously, with MSS Research conducting the manufacturers’ survey and ICM the public research. Both were telephone-based surveys undertaken in April 2012.
Survey questions were in the areas of:
- Performance of the government and manufacturing
- Growth of the manufacturing sector
- Skills and jobs
For a number of the questions, we sought the views of both the public and manufacturers. It has been noted where questions sought only the opinion of manufacturers.
The 2012 survey results indicate that manufacturers and the public perceive there to be a strong disconnect between the actions and messages of the government on the issue of manufacturing.
- Questions 1–6: Since the 2011 survey, confidence in government actions to create a more balanced economy has fallen 11% for manufacturers and 47% for the public. Furthermore, manufacturers recorded a 46% drop in support towards government policy in manufacturing compared to 2011.
There is also a continuing belief that the government is more committed to the financial sector than to manufacturing (80% of manufacturers and 56% of the public). This is reflected in only 37% of manufacturers and 10% of the public being confident about the future of the sector
- Question 7: There is overwhelming support for government to favour UK-based companies when awarding contracts even if this is a more expensive option (77.5% of manufacturers and 72% of the public)
- Questions 8–13: Manufacturers believe the nation’s regulatory environment, labour costs and tax regime are potential barriers to investment in UK manufacturing. Manufacturers polled are concerned that increasing energy costs, the Eurozone crisis and the state of the UK economy could affect their businesses
- Question 14–17: Manufacturers have indicated a strong uptake in recruitment with 76% currently seeking more staff. However, 41% are struggling to find people with the right skills, with 63% finding recruitment of Chartered and Incorporated Engineers a particular issue