Public wants government to support UK manufacturing

Posted on 9 Mar 2012

A report released yesterday by Dr Finbarr Livesey, director of the Centre for Industry and Government at the Institute of Manufacturing (IfM), highlights discontent among the public about UK manufacturing.

The report documents public perceptions of UK manufacturing, and asks the respondents a variety of questions about their view of manufacturing.

The results were gathered online from 1,452 people over the age of 18, and the data was gathered between January 19 – 20 this year. The figures have been weighted and are allegedly representative of all UK adults.

50% of the UK public believe that manufacturing is high tech, and 72% believe that manufacturing as a share of the economy needs to increase significantly. However only 16% of respondents expressed felt that manufacturing jobs are well paid and there is a widespread concern that manufacturing jobs are the first to be moved overseas – 74% of respondents agree with this statement.

Only 29% of respondents believe that the Government understands what is needed to strengthen and grow the economy – perhaps reinforced by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s leaked letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron.

In a striking comparison to the US, only one in five of the respondents to the IfM survey would encourage their child to undertake a career in manufacturing, while in the US the figure is one in three.

Finbarr Livesey commented: “Most people clearly still believe that manufacturing is important, but few of them have long term faith in manufacturing jobs.”

“If we are going to draw bright young people into the sector, then we need to address the current public narrative of low wages and low job security head on, so that careers in manufacturing are represented accurately.”