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The UK’s booming electronics manufacturing sector

The UK electronics sector experienced the fastest growth of any other sector in 2018, according to a report by Santander and Make UK (formerly EEF) the manufacturers’ organisation.

Despite representing less than 5% of UK manufacturing output, the electronics sector generated £19.4bn in turnover and £8.4bn in gross value added (GVA) in 2017. After the sector experienced a period of decline in the early 2000s, facing major challenges from lower-cost manufacturing in Asia, the UK has continued to rebound with growth in 2017 and 2018: with increases of 4.4% and 12.4% respectively. 

In such a competitive sector, there were four key areas where the report identified continued   opportunities for the growth of UK electronics, engineering and manufacturing firms:

  • Developing the products required for an increasing number of new smarter devices
  • Capitalising on the rise of digital medicines
  • Focusing on export demand from relatively untapped markets like Asia; and
  • The roll-out of 5G across the UK’s main cities.

Currently, the UK’s electronics sector is worth in excess of £16 billion to the economy, with 300,000+ people employed in over 12,000 companies. 

The Manufacturing Outlook 2019 Q1 report highlighted that the electronics sector’s performance had benefited from the move towards further automation and the introduction of new technologies. 

The drive for new technologies has also seen the UK’s tech patent applications increase in 2018 up 7.8% overall, with digital communications filings up 9.9% and computer technology filings surging by an impressive 31.3%.

Tom Drew, Redline’s Principal Manufacturing & Operations Consultant, comments on the outstanding growth in the electronics manufacturing sector:

“With continued growth in high technology, the UK’s electronics sector has shown an outstanding and a robust growth rate strengthening its position at the heart of UK manufacturing. With global advances in automation and new manufacturing process/technologies ever increasing, the sector must focus on being agile and developing new cutting-edge products to drive new smart digital technologies.

Competition for global high-tech supremacy is increasing, and these results show UK manufacturers are among the world leaders. The sector has experienced the fastest growth of any UK manufacturing sector in 2018 and contributed disproportionately to GDP growth.

UK unemployment is now at its lowest rate since 1975. Labour turnover in the UK manufacturing industry has increased for the second year in succession as employees take advantage of a buoyant jobs market and skills shortages to move companies.

 Britain can continue its Great British success story and it’s well poised to further prosper with even greater opportunities for growth coming from the smarter devices, medical electronics and the roll-out of 5G. But the sector will need support from the government and finance if it is to capitalise on the export opportunities from Asia and elsewhere. That growth will be predicated around the industry developing more homegrown talent in engineering and manufacturing to sustain this growth.”

Redline’s Manufacturing Recruitment and Operations division specialises in the selection of both permanent, contract and interim professionals throughout the UK and Europe. Since its formation in 1982, the manufacturing jobs division has been staffed by expert Consultants and industry professionals giving them a unique perception of the full product manufacturing life cycle including all aspects of production jobs, supply chain, manufacturing engineer jobs, and test engineering

For more information on Redline Group's latest Manufacturing and Operations jobs, please contact Tom Drew on 01582 878848 or email

Redline has undertaken research into the candidate offer to acceptance ratio for many years. For a copy of our most recent research, and how this may help you reduce “Offer declination”, please click here


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