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Report

Manufacturing and Engineering Annual Report 2018/19

UK SME manufacturing sector buoyant and confident about future growth.

The latest MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Report confirms UK SME manufacturers remain optimistic and confident about future growth, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, rising production costs and skill shortages.

  • 71% of manufacturers reported revenue growth in the last year and 70% predict business growth over the next 12 months
  • 41% have high or above average business expectations over the next 12 months (increasing to 43% over the next three years) and 50% are looking to increase their capital investment spend in the coming year
  • 58% of respondents export products and all exporters currently do so to the Eurozone 
  • 93% believe their main competitors are based within the UK and 35% agree they’re within their own region
  • Only 30% cite Brexit uncertainty and trading tariff concerns as their main barrier to future success and just 34% have a strategy in place for post Brexit - 66% feel they cannot plan for the impact until they know the Government’s strategy and EU response
  • 92% believe rising production costs will impact their business next year, but in a positive move, 67% intend to absorb any price increases, rather than pass them onto customers, and 52% intend to achieve this through improved productivity and efficiency
  • Staff recruitment is an equally big issue; 81% of respondents report problems in finding people, yet 49% expect to increase payroll numbers next year. Out of these, 63% will opt for apprentices. 

Matthew Rooney, Engineering Policy Advisor at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers,  one of the contributors to the report, said:

“We are pleased to once again work in partnership with MHA to produce this year’s Manufacturing and Engineering Report. 

“Although the risks of Brexit loom large this year, the Report shows that companies in the UK are still optimistic about the future. Indeed, the development of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, along with Sector Deals, present exciting opportunities for innovation in the manufacturing industries. 

“The Report also highlights that skills shortages are an ongoing concern in the industry. The Institution will continue to work with companies to promote engineering as an attractive career path for young people to ensure the country has the skills required to thrive in a competitive globalised world.”

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