In the UK there are about 3 million people employed in manufacturing and the industry makes up approximately 55% of the UK exports trade and over 10% of total national output. Manufacturing is not technically an industry; rather, a selection of already enormous and well-established industries falls under the umbrella of manufacturing and some of the largest among them in the UK include:
- Aerospace, Aviation and Defence – The UK aeronautical industry is one of the most highly-revered manufacturers of aircraft, spacecraft, engines and weaponry. It is the second largest in the world after the USA, has an annual turnover of just over £20 million and supports over 250,000 UK jobs.
- Automotive – Despite the collapse of some of the UK and the world’s largest car and parts manufacturing companies, Britain still produces approximately 1.5 million cars and over 2 million engines each year, around three-quarters of which are exported.
- Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals – Some of the world’s most successful pharmaceutical companies, along with some world-class research and development facilities, are based in the UK.
- Construction and Engineering – The UK has one of the largest construction sectors in Europe, employing over 2 million people directly. It was also the fastest growing sector following the recession.
- Food and Drink – This is the largest sectors in the UK, accounting for almost 15% of the UK’s entire manufacturing industry and employing over half a million people. The UK is home to some of the largest food and drink and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturing companies in the world.
- Marine – There are around 5,000 companies and 100,000 employees in the marine manufacturing sector. In 2011 the Marine Industries Leadership Council announced a strategy which aims to create a £25 billion UK marine industry by 2020.
The majority of manufacturing is focused in the East and West Midlands. Specialist manufacturing has taken over due to the high level of skill of those employed within the industry. Some factories and production warehouses in Britain only build components which are then shipped overseas to other countries.
Being able to manufacture at a high level and on such efficient budgets is not only important; it is key to attracting foreign investors to the United Kingdom.