27 May, 2022

Manufacturers see positive outlook for 2022

18 January, 2022

Britain’s manufacturers are more positive about the growth outlook as they enter 2022, with greater confidence in the prospects for their own companies than either the global or UK economies, according to a major survey published recently by Make UK and PwC.


The 2022 Make UK/PwC Senior Executive survey shows the scale of uncertainty facing business in the current turbulent global environment, with more than half of companies saying the biggest challenges facing them had changed in the last twelve months. Their optimism is also tempered by escalating inflationary pressures and access to, as well as retaining, talent and key skills which are by far the biggest issues companies are having to address.

In the face of these challenges, however, the majority of manufacturers have weathered the storm of the last couple of years with almost three quarters of companies (73%) now believing conditions for the sector will improve in 2022, with a similar number (73%) believing the opportunities for their business outweigh the risks. To date, the sector appears to have seen little or no disruption from the latest Omicron variant to alter this confidence.

Furthermore, almost two thirds (63%) of companies felt the UK to be a competitive location for manufacturing with just 13% believing it to be an uncompetitive place to do business.

To take advantage of these opportunities manufacturers are prioritising improving productivity, investment in their people as well as new product development, while the recent COP 26 summit appears to have accelerated investments in the drive to ‘net zero’.

However, one year on from leaving the EU, two thirds of companies said that leaving had moderately or significantly hampered their business, with over a half of companies (56%) fearing a further impact this year from customs delays due to import checks and changes in product labelling.

Commenting, Make UK chief executive, Stephen Phipson, said:

“It’s testament to the strength of manufacturers that they have emerged from the turbulence of the last couple of years in such a relatively strong position. While clouds remain on the horizon in the form of rapidly escalating costs and access to key skills, the outlook is more positive for those that remain adaptable, agile and innovative.

“To build on this we now need to see a Government fully committed to supporting the sector at home and overseas. This requires more than a Plan for Growth but a broader industrial strategy that sets out a long-term vision for the economy and how we are going to achieve consistent economic growth across the whole country.”

Cara Haffey, PwC’s UK industrial manufacturing and automotive leader, commented:

“Despite facing an unprecedented combination of continued Covid pressures, cost inflation and supply chain issues, our manufacturers are responding with an impressive amount of agility and resilience, which will stand them in good stead for the year ahead. They have learned valuable lessons about their supply chain vulnerabilities and the resilience needed to respond to unforeseen international or domestic risks, and are strengthening their businesses digitally as well as continuing to focus on talent and skills.




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