Posted on 13th February, 2019

Misconceptions of Manufacturing

The UK Manufacturing sector must attract skilled, versatile and bright young people if it is going to continue to thrive. Barclays’ new research reveals how Generation Z views this ever evolving sector.


    • UK Manufacturing has yet to convince Generation Z of its potential as an employer. Just 6% of those aged between 16 and 23 are contemplating a future in the sector.
    • Yet 23% are looking to digital/technology and 22% to the IT/computing fields– suggesting young people dont realise the extent to which manufacturing now exploits the advanced technology.
    • Young people see the skills they could gain in manufacturing as primarily technical, such as repairing and mainting equipment; or physical, such as strength and dexterity. Only one third appreciate the potential for acquiring skills in advanced technology fields, such as machine learning and big data.
    • Failure to engage and inspire the new generation is set to exacerbate skills pressures on manufacturers, hitting growth and productivity. Almost one in four business is finding it hard to recruit skilled workers, and one fifth have problems finding experienced staff.
    • Larger businesses are under particular pressure – 46% say skills shortages are putting strain on existing work forces.
    • By targeting young people more directly – for example, through apprenticeships, graduate recruitment and partnerships with education – UK manufacturing could boost its value by an extra £6bn a year by 2023.
    • Every region of the UK and sub-sector of manufacturing stands to gain in output and employment, with particularly strong growth for companies in the North West and also though in transport equipment manufacture.



Information sourced by Barclays Bank PLC

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