What do the public actually think about UK manufacturing

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This week we published a short booklet, in partnership with Womble Bond Dickinson, which shows the UK public think the manufacturing sector is important and why.

For those of you in a rush we’ve also produced a 90 second video.

 

 

Stereotypes are out the window

 

It’s often a worry for companies in the sector that the decade old images of smoke stacks and grubby factory floors still pervade the public consciousness, but this is not supported by our survey findings.

 Positive-qualities

The British public actually have a very modern and positive image of the sector. The majority of people see it as clean and safe as other sectors of the economy and the use of new technologies and creating new products are also seen as key features. Many will find it comforting to know that, at least in terms of what day to day manufacturing looks like, the public are actually up to speed.

The public also see the manufacturing sector as vital in dealing with the changes and challenges the UK may face. They seem fully aware that in order to tackle national challenges like climate change, or changes from advancements in AI, we will need the innovativeness and ingenuity of manufactures.

UKcanttacklefutureproblems

But the public don’t know the full story

We can’t rest on our laurels just yet, as there’s still work to be done on UK manufacturing’s image. One of the more shocking statistics from our research came from asking about where people think the UK sits in the world rankings in terms of manufacturing.

Standing-in-world-rankings

A worrying 65% don’t think we even break into the top 20, with the public, on average, putting the UK 56th in the world. As our annual factcard revealed, the latest figures put the UK as one of the top ten manufacturing nations in the world in terms of value. Although cognisant that the nature of manufacturing has moved with modern times and technology, there’s still a heavy air of pessimism about our performance on a global scale.

Don’t let the blighters get your down

Despite thinking we’re far further down in the rankings than we are, two thirds of the public think the UK should aim to be in the top five manufacturing nations in the world.

UK-public-is-ambitious

Policy makers need to help with that ambition, pushing the UK to take the lead globally and government needs to put more focus on the sector to help bring these dreams to fruition.

UK-Government-place-more-value

We all care about British manufacturing, but how do we break in to the top five? Get in touch and tell us what you think.

@EEF_Economists
#ukmfgmatters
eef.org.uk/ukmfgmatters

EEF/YouGov survey 2018 related to statistics from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2052 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 25th June 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

 

Author

Survey Coordinator

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