Working Brits would rather sit

Modern manufacturing faces perception problem.

New research shows that more than two thirds of Brits prefer office jobs.

New study shows that over two thirds of Brits prefer office jobs over working with their hands.

Coinciding with Professions Week, British manufacturing group Sofa Brands International has launched new research today showing that when it comes to working, more than two thirds of Brits prefer office jobs. Of those questioned, nearly half said it was because they didn’t want to be on their feet all day. Over a third felt they lacked the skills to make products with their hands.

Emma Wharton, head of human resources at Sofa Brands International said: “With over a third of Brits feeling they lack the skills to make products with their hands and a quarter of the UK population believing that the average manufacturing salary in the UK is under £14,000, is it a surprise that the number of people working in the industry is at its lowest since the 1970s?  

A slip stitch
A slip stitch

“This research has highlighted to us that the modern manufacturing industry continues to face a perception issue. With so many young people believing it is poorly paid, and some unaware of it as a career option, it’s not hard to see why more and more young people are choosing alternative career paths. 

“The long term future of the industry’s growth relies on recruiting the very best workforce. I don’t feel people regard a career in the manufacturing industry as highly as they should.  There seems to be a lack of knowledge around the vast range of skills required to be successful or the number of different career paths available within the manufacturing industry. At SBI we employ 1,029 people over 56 different job roles.”

The research has shown that over 40% of 16-24 year olds believe that the average salary in manufacturing is under £12,000 and nearly 13% were unaware they could work in the industry.

She went on to add: “As the industry faces a skills shortage and an ageing workforce, there is growing concern that if the industry fails to attract new blood, our rich manufacturing history could be lost.

Key findings from SBI’s survey include:

  • More than two thirds of Brits prefer office jobs because they don’t want to be on their feet all day
  • Just over a quarter of Brits think that the average manufacturing salary in the UK is under £14,000
  • More than a third of Brits feel they lack the skills to make products with their hands
  • Just over 40% of 16-24 year olds believe that the average salary in manufacturing is under £12,000 per year
  • Prefer office based roles by region:
    • London – 70%
    • Northern Ireland – 54%
    • North East – 68%
    • North West – 61%
    • South East – 61%
    • South West – 62%
    • 49% of women would prefer an office based role
    • 41% of men would prefer an office based role