The 2016/17 MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Report is now live!

The 5th annual MHA Manufacturing & Engineering report has been released and draws on the findings from a UK-wide survey which ran throughout the summer. The report analyses national and regional insight from over 560 businesses, of which 80 are from the South Coast, and identifies opportunities, concerns and future developments within the sector.

Philippa Oldham speaking at the METALL eventFeedback from the report was discussed at our latest METALL event, held at South Lodge Hotel on 15th November with Philippa Oldham, Head of Manufacturing & Transport at IMechE, providing her expert commentary to a packed audience of local Manufacturing businesses. A Q&A followed the presentation with areas of discussion including the skills gap, implications of industry 4.0 and what the Government can do to support the sector.

Read the 2016/17 Manufacturing & Engineering Report


The report contains a national snapshot covering England, Wales and Scotland as well as regional insights. Expert commentary is also provided by Mike Mychajluk, Member of the Automotive Council Supply Chain Group, Chair of the ICAEW Manufacturing Special Interest Group and Supply Chain & External Engagement at Jaguar Land Rover Limited and from Professor Rajkumar Roy, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University.

Launched post the Brexit result, the report reveals that optimism in the sector is still high and businesses continue to have a positive outlook for the coming year. Survey respondents were from a variety of sub-sectors within Manufacturing and Engineering including Aerospace, Biotechnology, Food and Drink, Metals, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Renewables and Transport to name a few.

Main findings:

  • Half of all respondents put skills shortages at the top of their agenda. Most MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Report 2016businesses’ want the government to expand skills training for the future work-force in Secondary Schools, Higher and Further Education (FE) colleges.
  • 68% of respondents believe their main competitors are UK based and 32% said their main competitors are based within their own region of the UK.
  • 47% of respondents expect to increase their staff numbers in 2016 (an increase of 8% from last year), with 57% of companies intending to take on apprentices or trainees.
  • Of the respondents that anticipate their staff numbers will increase in the next 12 months, over half (59%) need to recruit production staff. However, 41% indicated that they have trouble recruiting skilled machinists/technicians.
  • 18% of businesses reported that recruiting appropriately skilled staff is the main barrier to growth over the next 12 months; this is a decrease of 10% from last year which is encouraging, although this may just be a reflection in the shift of concern towards the effects of Brexit.
  • Where recruitment is a barrier to growth, 31% of respondents favoured adopting lean manufacturing strategies and 23% favoured automation or further automation as a coping strategy. Shift working or flexible working patterns (25%) was also seen as a viable option.
  • When asked about the availability of skilled recruits, only 11% had a positive outlook compared with 49% having a negative outlook.

The Manufacturing & Engineering report was compiled by the Manufacturing group at MHA, our national association of accountants and supported by Lloyds Commercial Banking.

If you would like to discuss the findings of the report in the context of your own business, please get in touch with our Manufacturing team at Carpenter Box on 01903 234094.

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