Today is my last day at EEF. So here are 16 things I learned about manufacturing during my 16 months at EEF.
1) The UK has a manufacturing sector
When I first announced to my colleagues and friends in France that I was going to work for a manufacturing employers’ organisation, the first reaction was: is there still a manufacturing sector in the UK? Well, the answer is yes. The UK economy is much more than financial services…
2) And it is worth 10% of GDP...
The sector has made a strong contribution to GDP growth this year.
3) And employs 2.6 million people
Forget about manufacturing job destruction. The sector has added some 50,000 jobs to the economy so far this year.
4) The sector is driving the UK's research and innovation
Manufacturers perform 70% of the UK's R&D expenditures.
5) And it is widespread across UK regions
Maps, it is all about maps.
6) UK manufacturers make brilliant things...
From cars to airplanes... to wine and cheesy chips.
7) UK manufacturing is incredibly resilient
Just think about the last ten years - a financial crisis, a global recession, a European crisis, and... Brexit. And it is all fine.
8) Companies are going for growth
Manufacturers in the UK are incredibly ambitious...
9) Despite a challenging environment
In 16 months, I have seen a referendum and a snap election, both are decisive for the country's future. Yet it is still business as usual. No one seems to care - it is the perfect « flegme britannique ».
10) Forget about the productivity puzzle...
"What the UK makes in a week, the French or the German have it done by Thursday morning".
Seriously, can we stop saying this? Here are some reasons why:
11) Companies are embracing change
UK manufacturers are preparing for the 4th Industrial Revolution. And some are at the global productivity frontier...
12) But not all manufacturers are going at the same pace
Hence the reason why an Industrial Strategy - and a good one - is needed.
13) Manufacturers are integrated into global supply chain
So please, Brexit people, make it a success.
14) And it is not just about trade
R&D is also very international. Foreign-owned companies spent £11bn on R&D in 2016, and 336 million more than a year ago (+3.1% in current terms). By country of ownership of businesses performing R&D, the United States, Germany and France formed the top 3.
15) It is not all rosy however
Well, one thing I did learn - no one looks set for a wage increase any time soon.
16) So Keep it up!