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What’s happening in the UK’s electronic components market?

06/06/18 Natalie Tyler Associate Director

2017 was a hectic year for the UK’s electronics market with many highs and lows. The electronic component supply chain continued to experience major strain throughout 2017. However, there have been improvements in the first quarter and it is expected that 2018 should be a positive year for the UK’s electronics sector.

Natalie Tyler, Manager of the dedicated Sales and Marketing Division at Redline Group, reviews the electronics components market thus far this year and shares her thoughts on the likely developments in the sector and how it will affect recruitment of technical sales and marketing professionals.

“It is vitally important for electronics businesses to look at the electronic component forecast for the following year to see what may happen to the availability, lead times and prices. This enables manufacturers and distributors to accommodate the many changes which occur in the electronics market and still meet their goals.”

The Electronic Components Supply Network (ECSN) predicted that 2018 was likely to be another interesting year. With extended manufacturer lead-times, strong growth of new opportunities, applications, mergers and acquisitions, the electronic component market is currently experiencing a sustained year-over-year quarterly growth.” says Natalie.

According to UK DTAM data from ECSN and Afdec, the last eight quarters have seen the longest period of sustained growth since 2000. ECSN members forecast that the UK and Ireland market for electronic components would grow in the range of 10% to 12% in Q1 this year, compared to the same period in the previous year.

Natalie continues “The global electronic components market is currently transitioning from consumer products, primarily mobile phones, but also PCs and home entertainment systems towards fully autonomous transport and smart cities.” says Natalie. "The vast infrastructure build-out including the deployment of 5G mobile networks that will be required to support autonomous vehicles, connected cities and their populations is a huge opportunity. The move from internal combustion engines towards all-electric vehicles is another huge shift that will significantly reshape the electronic components market.”

Rapid investment in the implementation of electronic systems into ever-more areas of daily life is thought to be the main cause. As technology advances at a pace we have never experienced before, the need for interconnectivity between everything and everyone has never been so crucial – it's an exciting time to be in the industry. That’s not to say it is all plain sailing ahead; as mentioned above, the electronic component supply chain will continue to experience major strain throughout 2018 and that will lead to a multitude of issues for buyers and sellers such as key lead time and capacity issues, pricing uncertainties and manufacturer mergers. With the right strategies in place, however, companies can still look forward to a prosperous 2018.

What effect does this have on Technical Sales and Marketing jobs in the UK?

According to the Electronics Systems Challenges & Opportunities (ESCO) report, the Electronics Systems community employed more than 850,000 people in 2012 and contributed more than £78 billion today to 1,000,000. The UK’s economic contribution will grow from £78 billion to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They have predicted that UK employment will grow from 856,000 today to 1,000,000 by 2020. UK economic contribution will grow from £78 billion today to £120 billion – an annual growth rate of 6%.

Natalie adds, “UK-based organisations represent an internationally valued capability. Built on our strong heritage of innovative engineering, the UK has a large contingent of such organisations and attracts a significant share of global investment. No fewer than 14 of the world’s top 20 semiconductor companies have established design and/or manufacturing operations in the UK and the community extends from the creation of the base electronic materials right through to the development of the software and services that realise the capabilities of Electronic Systems."

“Many of the UK’s leading employers are critically dependent on electrical and electronic engineering skills. Having discussed the complexity involved in today’s Electronic Systems, it is only realistic to expect a complex range of job roles within it. The government is already investing heavily in developing the skills, infrastructure and business incentives to grow and attract electronic component designers and electronic systems businesses, making the UK highly vulnerable to other regions where the importance of the sector is more actively recognised and promoted.”

“The UK must act more urgently and in a coordinated fashion, otherwise, our remarkable potential in this game-changing technology sector will go unfulfilled. Businesses must offer continuous professional development to enhance the skills of today’s electronics skills-force.”

Natalie concludes “Technical sales and marketing roles will continue to be in demand in a variety of business sectors including electronics, components, instrumentation, aerospace, automotive, defence and telecoms industries. At Redline, we are already experiencing a surge from clients requiring more sales and marketing candidates to fill their sales and marketing roles. Business Development jobs, Component Distributor jobs, RF & Microwave Component sales jobs continue to be in high demand in the technical recruitment sector."

Redline has successfully helped manage the careers of the highest calibre technical sales candidates, giving our team a unique insight into the changing business environment in which our clients operate. To find out more about Sales and Marketing jobs, please contact Natalie Tyler on 01582 878808 or email