2017/18 MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Survey Report

Manufacturing & Engineering

Drawing on national and regional insight from over 450 clients and contacts, the findings of our recent survey identifies opportunities and concerns facing UK manufacturing and engineering businesses. Despite uncertainty over Brexit, the majority of businesses have managed to achieve growth over the past 12 months and the sector remains optimistic about the future. The respondents were from a variety of sub-sectors within manufacturing and engineering including: aerospace, automotive, agriculture, biotechnology, chemical, construction, electrical and electronic, food and drink, healthcare, leisure, metals, minerals and materials, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, renewables and transport, to name but a few.

The report contains a national snapshot from each of our 8 member firms covering England, Wales and Scotland. Along with commentary from sector expert Philippa Oldham CEng MIMechE, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and insight from Sir John O'Reilly, chairman of The ERA Foundation and government adviser on manufacturing and engineering.

Main Findings:

  • 20% of respondents stated that they have lost staff or are at risk of losing staff as a result of the Brexit vote. This average value hides the fact that in London and the South East, it is 35% of respondents that are finding this a problem.
  • 75% of respondents said they have trouble recruiting employees with the relevant skills for their business.
  • Unsurprisingly given the above, 22% of respondents put skills shortages at the top of their agenda. Most businesses want to see government action on expanding skills training for the future work-force at all levels of education, from Secondary Schools to Higher and Further Education (FE) colleges.
  • 94% of respondents felt their cost of production would rise in the coming year.
  • Despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit and anticipated production cost increases, optimism for growth over the next 12 months is up by 9% from last year, with 78% of respondents predicting growth for their business.
  • 92% of respondents see Industry 4.0 as an opportunity.
  • 51% of respondents export, with the Eurozone being the most popular destination (96% of exporting respondents export to the Eurozone).
  • 88% of companies invest some percentage of their turnover in R&D. However, 43% haven’t applied for R&D Tax Credits in the last 12 months.
  • 57% of respondents expect to increase their staff numbers in the next 12 months (an increase of 10% from last year).
  • 59% are planning on taking on apprentices in the next 12 months. However, 80% currently don’t have a strategy in place to access Apprenticeship Levy funding.

If you would like to discuss any issues raised in the report in more detail or you would like to speak with a member of our team, please contact Hannah Farmborough or call on 0207 429 4147 to be put in contact with your local representative.

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Manufacturing & Engineering