2016/17 Manufacturing & Engineering Annual Survey Report

Manufacturing & Engineering

Drawing on national and regional insight from over 560 clients and contacts, the findings of our recent report identify opportunities and concerns, signposting future developments in the sector. Despite Brexit, the report reveals that optimism in the sector is still high and respondents continue to have a positive outlook for the coming year.

Our 2016/17 survey report is just one of the tools MHA member firms use to help businesses in the Manufacturing and Engineering sector. The story the report tells, together with the comparative data held over the last five years helps us to understand the trends and importantly, helps us to help our clients make the best of opportunities, as well as deal with some of the challenges.

The report also highlights a number of important issues, including:

  • Half of all respondents put skills shortages at the top of their agenda. Most businesses’ want government to expand skills training for the future work-force in Secondary Schools, Higher and Further Education (FE) colleges.
  • 68% of respondents believe their main competitors are UK based and 32% said their main competitors are based within their own region of the UK.
  • 47% of respondents expect to increase their staff numbers in 2016 (an increase of 8% from last year), with 57% of companies intending to take on apprentices or trainees.
  • Of the respondents that anticipate their staff numbers increasing in the next 12 months, over half (59%) need to recruit production staff. However, 41% indicated that they have trouble recruiting skilled machinists / technicians.
  • 18% of businesses reported that recruiting appropriately skilled staff is the main barrier to growth over the next 12 months; this is a decrease of 10% from last year which is encouraging, although this may just be a reflection in the shift of concern towards the effects of Brexit.
  • Where recruitment is a barrier to growth, 31% of respondents favoured adopting lean manufacturing strategies and 23% favoured automation or further automation as a coping strategy. Shift working or flexible working patterns (25%) was also seen as a viable option.
  • When asked about the availability of skilled recruits, only 11% had a positive outlook compared with 49% having a negative outlook.


MHA member firms have a wealth of experience in the Manufacturing and Engineering sector and together act for over 2,000 companies ranging from owner managed SMEs to global businesses with international interests. Knowledge sharing across the association means that whatever the business type, we have experience that can help you meet your strategic goals and grow your business. MHA is also an independent UK member of Baker Tilly International to support client’s with their global ambitions.  

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the report further, or if you are considering your own strategic objectives for the future, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Manufacturing & Engineering

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