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Survey finds UK Manufacturers gain more confidence in 2024

A recent survey reveals a surge in optimism among UK manufacturing executives. Despite global challenges, manufacturers are investing in new technologies and markets, while welcoming autumn statement measures.

A survey conducted by the manufacturing trade body Make UK and the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals an optimistic outlook. Out of over 200 senior manufacturing executives, 52.7% believe the UK is now a more competitive place to locate their activities. This percentage has increased from only 31% one year ago. 

According to the survey, over 44.4% expressed confidence in the sector's potential for improvement, while only one in five believe the opposite. Furthermore, an increasing number of people believe that the UK is becoming more competitive than its European counterparts. About one-third of respondents claimed that the UK is becoming more competitive than Germany and France, while over a quarter believe it is moving ahead of Spain and Italy. However, a larger portion of companies expressed concern, stating that the UK was losing ground against the US, China, and India. 

UK manufacturers have shifted their perspective, acknowledging that opportunities now outweigh the risks for their firms. They are actively investing in new products, expanding into new markets, and accelerating the use of new digital technologies to improve their business. In particular, 71.2% of firms see adopting new digital technologies as a way to boost operational efficiency, while more than half (52.2%) believe that generative AI will increase their workforce’s productivity. 

“After a period of increased uncertainty due to the Covid pandemic, Brexit, and the impact of the surge in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the manufacturing industry in the UK has once again demonstrated its resilience beyond expectations,” stated Anne Campion, the Head of Manufacturing at GM Business Growth Hub. 

“With cautious optimism prevailing, it is crucial for manufacturers to strengthen their position by investing in productivity and operational efficiency enhancement. Our team of expert manufacturing advisors is passionate about supporting manufacturing business with their vast experience and technical know-how.” 

“At the beginning of this year, we re-launched our highly praised workshop on Lean Manufacturing, redesigned our course on Manufacturing Culture and Leadership, and added a new programme on Sales and Marketing for Manufacturers. It is an unmissable opportunity for manufacturers in Greater Manchester.” 

UK businesses have welcomed the measures announced in the autumn statement, which offer permanent investment reliefs. They believe that the tax breaks could help encourage investment in Britain. Despite this business leaders have criticized the government for its lack of an industrial strategy, given years of inconsistency in its policies. Industry leaders anticipate a more stable economy in 2024, with reduced inflation and the potential for interest rate cuts from the Bank of England. 

To make the most of this improved confidence Greater Manchester manufacturing businesses can access fully-funded expert support from us. Our dedicated manufacturing advisors are here to assist. For more information, please visit: 

Manufacturing | GM Business Growth Hub 

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