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.
2013 was the third year of our Engineered in Britain campaign, which aims to promote the value of engineering and manufacturing to the health and wealth of the UK’s economy.
In this report we have assessed the health of manufacturing in the UK from four perspectives:
- Culture: How much status and value is the UK giving to manufacturing?
- Skills: Does the UK have the right people, now and in the future, to support the sector?
- Innovation: How much is innovation a part of UK thinking in how we compete?
- Globalisation and Competitiveness: Where does the UK stand against other nations?
From all perspectives, actions are proposed based on the survey data obtained.
The 2013 Engineered in Britain survey results indicate that both manufacturers and the general population continue to believe that government does not recognise the potential in the UK’s manufacturing sector. Both groups (85% of manufacturers and 51% of the public), said that the Coalition remains more focused on the country’s financial and service sectors.
The government needs to invest in public communication in parallel with its business support in order to deliver the UK industrial strategy effectively.
When asked how the Government was performing on a range of policy areas, education and skills saw the most marked improvement, with a 39% approval rate from manufacturers – up from 13% in 2011. Other policy areas were not as positively received, especially manufacturing policy, which only achieved a 17% (manufacturers) and 21% (public) approval rating.
Employers need to co-ordinate with each other and engage more actively with the government and all agencies involved, in demonstrating the opportunities for employment arising from studying science and engineering subjects at school.
Among manufacturers, innovation remains a challenge, with only 45% of manufacturers even aware of how much of their turnover is directly related to new product introduction. 4% of businesses admitted to not investing anything in research & development, and a further 63% either didn’t know, or invested at a minimal rate.
The importance of new product development to economic growth still has insufficient public profile. We aim to redouble our work with others on business improvement and to raise awareness through the public celebration of success in prizes and awards.
Globalisation and Competitiveness
Results from the survey showed that 28% of manufacturers are continuing to offshore (moving their manufacturing abroad usually to reduce unit costs) compared to just 20% that are reshoring (moving their manufacturing back to the UK).
The government needs to reinforce the technical benefits (of increased product quality and intellectual property control) of localised manufacturing. A simplified UK fiscal policy is also essential to compete internationally.