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Engineering adds £645bn a year to the UK economy

Professional Engineering

The 'engineering economy' employs eight million people, the Royal Academy research revealed (Credit: Shutterstock)
The 'engineering economy' employs eight million people, the Royal Academy research revealed (Credit: Shutterstock)

Research from the Royal Academy of Engineering has revealed that the engineering sector adds an estimated £645bn to the UK's annual economy.

The work, published by the Royal Academy to mark National Engineering Day, found that the UK has 729,000 engineering businesses, accounting for a tenth of all businesses in the country. 

The 'engineering economy' employs eight million people, over a quarter of all UK workers (26%), and the economic output from an engineering job is 23% higher on average than other jobs in the UK. 

There are 13 hotspots where more than a third of adults are employed in the engineering economy, including Aberdeenshire, Flintshire and Cumbria.

“Engineering touches our lives every single day – even if we often don’t notice it," said Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy. "Listening to music on your phone or digital radio, flicking on the kettle for a cup of tea, or making a slice of toast are only possible thanks to the work of engineers. And they’re also improving lives at a global scale: engineers made it possible to manufacture and distribute Covid-19 vaccines to people around the world and are playing a major role in enabling progress towards net zero.

“On National Engineering Day, we want to celebrate the UK’s engineers and showcase how they are improving our lives for the better. This new research emphasises the economic impact of the sector right across the UK, revealing how important engineering is for employment and prosperity in a wide range of regions. Through their work in these regions, these engineers will also be improving healthcare, providing secure and sustainable energy and contributing towards a sustainable and equitable future for people across the UK and beyond.

"Put simply, they are playing a vital role in tackling the problems we face today and improving our lives for tomorrow. However, if the profession is to continue to drive change, we need more people from a wider range of backgrounds to choose engineering. Through National Engineering Day we hope to inspire the next generation of engineers to join this future-shaping profession.”

The full research, entitled "Engineering, Economy & Place", will be published later this year. 

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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