UK Manufacturing Statistics

Below is an overview of UK Manufacturing Statistics. Despite the decline since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed 25% of UK GDP, the UK is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world.

Overall, the UK’s industrial sector has increased by 1.4% a year since 1948, according to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS attributes the sustained growth to a better quality; more skilled workforce; a shift in production from low to high productivity goods; improvements in automation and technology; increased investment in R&D, and a more integrated global economy. One of the most critical UK manufacturing statistics is the total value of UK manufacturers’ product sales, which was £396.6bn in 2019, a fall of 1.2% compared with £401.4bn in 2018.

UK Manufacturing Statistics according to Make UK, UK manufacturing currently:

  • employs 2.7 million people – earning an average of £32,500
  • contributes 11% of GVA
  • accounts for 45% of total exports – totalling £275bn
  • represents 69% of business research and development (R&D)
  • provides 13% of business investment

Upcoming events from The Manufacturer:

Don’t miss the upcoming Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week, where change-makers can find insights, solutions & connections for their manufacturing & engineering projects.

Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week, taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 5-6 June, 2024 includes:

There’s also The Manufacturer Live in November, where the industry migrates to Liverpool to enjoy a series of award-winning events produced by The Manufacturer that champion the sector, promote innovation and recognise achievement – a tradition with a heritage of over 50 years.

The Manufacturer Live includes:

  • Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit
  • The Manufacturer MX Awards
  • Top 100 Alumni Drinks
  • The Manufacturer Directors’ Forums

Although the contribution of manufacturing to GDP has declined on paper, many of the services provided to manufacturers which would have once been considered part of manufacturing – such as catering; cleaning; building services; security; logistics and so on – are now allocated into different areas of the economy.

However, those contributions are directly reliant on manufacturing for continued business and could actually be considered as a part of manufacturing’s GDP input. As such, many are calling for the true value of manufacturing to be recognised, a move which would see the widely cited figure of 10% of GVA more than doubling to 23% and would greatly impact the overall UK manufacturing statistics.

Britain is the 9th largest manufacturer in the world by output - EEF.Make UK Factcard 2019

UK Balance of Trade:


Key findings from the Annual Manufacturing Report 2020:

Annual Manufacturing Report 2020 cover including UK Manufacturing Statistics - The ManufacturerEvery year Hennik Research publishes the Annual Manufacturing Report. Below are the key findings from the 2020 report (released in February 2020).


The Annual Manufacturing Report 2020 reflects that climate change and technology revolution are opportunities not challenges, but fear continued political uncertainty and the inability of the education system to produce skilled recruits.


  • 84% said climate change and the drive for a carbon neutral future are an opportunity to transform their business.
  • 43% said they want to plan for growth but times are too uncertain and unstable
  • 81% said digital technologies will enable all manufacturer to open up new markets
  • 92% said government needs to incentivise long-term investment in digital technologies
  • 82% said they have a clearly defined, articulated and enacted cybersecurity strategy
  • 59% said the education system is failing to rectify the skills gap
  • Only 39% thought the skills gap is being taken seriously by the government

 The Annual Manufacturing Report 2019 has five sections: Business Transformation; Smart Factory; Finance and Investment; Cybersecurity; and People and Skills.

Click here for an overview of the Annual Manufacturing Report 2020.

UK Manufacturing Statistics by sector:

The aim of the buy-back is to reduce the issued share capital of the company, aiding the enhance of returns for shareholders.

British Aerospace at a glance

  • 128,000+ direct jobs // 140,000 indirect jobs
  • £31bn annual turnover
  • 30% productivity growth in the past five years
  • 39% growth since 2010
  • 18% global market share – largest in Europe and second globally to the US
  • 90% of turnover to export markets – worth £26bn
  • Almost a decade’s worth of work in hand, with an order book of more than 13,000 aircraft worth up to £195bn to the UK

(Information courtesy of

McLaren Automotive posts successive sales record 2015British Automotive at a glance

  • 169,000+ direct jobs // 78,000 employed across UK supply chain
  • 25,000 new jobs to be created to cover the production of connected and autonomous vehicles
  • 2,000+ automotive suppliers in the UK – including 18 of world’s top 20
  • £71.6bn annual turnover
  • 80% of a vehicle can be manufactured in the UK
  • Annually adds £12.4+bn to the UK economy
  • Annually producing £34.3bn of exports – accounting for 12% of the UK’s total export goods

(Information courtesy of

Bethany Thomas (aged 23), reactor chemistry engineer at EDF Energy.

British Chemical & Pharmaceutical at a glance

  • 105,000 (Chemical) and 53,000 (Pharmaceutical) direct jobs // 500,000 indirect jobs
  • 30,000 employed in related R&D (7,000 – Chemical, and 23,000 – Pharmaceutical)
  • Annually adds £15.2bn to the UK economy
  • Adds £60m to the UK balance of trade every day
  • UK’s largest manufacturing export sector (£24.7bn – Chemical and £20.7bn – Pharmaceutical)
  • CIA members have a combined turnover of £50bn

(Information courtesy of

Case Construction Equipment Wheel LoaderBritish Construction at a glance

  • 1m direct jobs // annually provides upwards of 80,000 new job opportunities
  • Employs just under 200,000 women in the sector
  • Annually adds £92bn+ to the UK economy – represents 6,4% of the total economic output
  • 35+% of construction employees run their own companies
  • More than a quarter of employers have recruited a school leaver in the past 2-3 years
  • Almost 50% of employers in the building services engineering industry take part in the modern apprenticeship scheme

(Information courtesy of

BAE Systems Typhoon in the air – aerospace is the UK defence industry’s largest exporter.

British Defence at a glance

  • 142,000 direct employees // Almost the same number in indirect jobs
  • Employs 4,300+ apprentices and trainees
  • £24bn annual turnover
  • 18% growth since 2010
  • The UK is the world’s second biggest defence exporter behind the US, generating an average of £7,7bn for the UK every year
  • 34% export growth between 2009 – 2013
  • 9,000+ defence companies including SMEs exist in the UK
  • BAE Systems – the UK’s largest defence company – currently employs 40,000 domestically

(Information courtesy of

PP Electrical FittingBritish Electronics at a glance

  • 800,000+ direct jobs
  • £78bn annual turnover
  • 95%+ of the sectors 6,000 businesses are SMEs
  • UK Electronics is the world’s fifth largest in terms of production
  • 14 of the world’s top 20 semiconductor companies have established design and/or manufacturing sites in the UK
  • In semiconductors, almost 80% of the activity comes from foreign direct investment

(Information courtesy of

Natural Gas FlameBritish Energy at a glance

  • 137,000 direct jobs // 500,000 indirect jobs
  • Annually adds £5.5bn to the UK economy
  • The energy sector reduced its carbon emissions by 13% in 2015
  • Generation output from renewable sources increased by 30% from 2014 to 2015
  • Invested £18bn in infrastructure, generation, distribution, metering and customer service during 2015

(Information courtesy of

Aunt Bessie factory

British Food & Drink at a glance

  • 400,000 direct jobs – predicted to need almost 110,000 new recruits by 2022
  • Annually adds £21.9bn to the UK economy
  • Accounts for 16% of total UK manufacturing turnover – making it the largest sector
  • Productivity has increased by 11% over the past five years
  • 96% of the sector’s 6,360 businesses are micro to medium-sized
  • Exports worth £12.8bn a year – 77% of which go to the EU

(Information courtesy of

Nuclear (L2).1British Nuclear at a glance

  • 63,000+ direct jobs // 80,000+ indirect jobs
  • Companies in the UK nuclear industry have the capability to provide 80+% of the work involved in new nuclear power station projects
  • 16 reactors on nine sites currently supplies 19% of the UK’s electricity
  • Over the next two decades, it is forecast that globally there will be £930bn investment in constructing new reactors and £250bn in decommissioning those coming off-line
  • There are currently 15 operational reactors across the UK

(Information courtesy of

Recycled plastic polymersBritish Plastics at a glance

  • 170,000+ direct jobs
  • £23.5bn annual turnover
  • 6,200 companies in the sector
  • 35% of manufactured plastics products exported – valued at £6.7bn
  • 1.7m tonnes of plastics materials produced annually – 3.3m tonnes of plastics materials recylced

(Information courtesy of

British Security at a glance

  • 76,0,00 direct jobs
  • £9bn annual turnover
  • 65% growth since 2010
  • The UK is the world’s sixth largest exporter of security equipment
  • Average exports worth £2.9bn to the UK
  • Benefits include national infrastructure; cyber security; policing and counter-terrorism; border security, and major event security.

(Information courtesy of

Liberty House to reopen Tredegar steelworks

British Steel at a glance

  • 30,000 direct jobs
  • 54% of UK Steel workers work in Yorkshire and the Humber, or Wales
  • Annually adds £9.5bn to the UK economy
  • Exports worth £4.9bn in 2013
  • 1m tonnes of output in 2014
  • The value of the industry has declined by almost a quarter (24%) since 1990
  • More waste steel is recovered in the UK and recycled than all other materials combined
  • Each tonne of scrap recycled by the industry saves 1.9 tonnes of iron ore and 0.6 tonnes of coal

(Information courtesy of

Image courtesy of ESA/NASABritish Space at a glance

  • 34,000+ direct jobs // 72,000+ indirect jobs
  • £11bn annual turnover
  • Growing at more than 8% a year
  • Exports worth ££4bn to the UK
  • Achieved 27% growth since 2010
  • Largest application is broadcasting, followed by telecommunications
  • Services support disaster relief; telemedicine; navigation, and broadcasting

(Information courtesy of

RESIZE Fabrics

British Textile at a glance

  • 340,000+ direct jobs across 79,000+ companies
  • Annually adds £11.5bn+ to the UK economy
  • Gross value added (GVA) per head measured at an average of £34,220
  • Third-largest fashion employer in the EU – behind Italy and Germany
  • British consumers spend annually almost £55bn on the high street

(Information courtesy of