The Woodworking sector relies heavily on machinery to create the many and varied products it offers to customers. In this article, Close Brothers takes a closer look at the manufacturing of machinery in the UK …

Key statistics:

  • The UK’s machinery manufacturing sector is the fastest growing in Europe, followed by Bulgaria and Romania
  • The revenue of the machinery manufacturing industry is expected to increase by 9.2% p.a. from 2020 to 2025:            
  1. 2020 - £30.6bn
  2. 2021 - £34.7bn
  3. 2022 - £39.4bn
  4. 2023 - £45.7bn
  5. 2024 - £46.6bn
  6. 2025 - £47.7bn
  • 7,500 firms in the sector
  • Total revenue of the sector is £35 billion, making it number 19 on the list of industries with the highest income. This places it ahead of pharmaceutical manufacturing (21), computers and electronics (24), and plastics and rubber (25), but behind food manufacturing (8), automotive manufacturing (13) and chemicals manufacturing (17) 
  • 225,000 people employed in the sector 
  • 37.2 hours – average hours worked per week
  • Average wage for men is £40.8k, while for women it is £33.2k – a discrepancy of 18.6%
  • The manufacturing machinery industry, in the main, experiences a negative trade balance each year of anywhere between 2% to 6%. What this means is the UK imports more than it exports, but not by much. 
  • Our machinery exports go primarily to non-EU countries, although the European Union still makes up a large percentage of our overseas market: 
  • European Union: £14 billion
  • Rest of the world: £18 billion

In general, the number of firms in the machinery manufacturing sector has decreased very slightly, from 8,140 in 2012 to less than 7,500 today. Each year, more firms are ‘born’ than ‘die’, but by a relatively negligible margin. 

Despite the many reports about the decline in UK manufacturing, this is not borne out by the employee numbers, which have been on the increase in recent years as the sector has once again come to prominence. Today, there are over 200,000 people employed in the sector, with 14% being women and 86% men. Full-time jobs make up 95.1% of roles with part-time the rest. 

At 37.1 hours per week, working hours in the industry are above the private sector level of 32.4. 

Looking at wages, women earn, on average, 18.6% less than men; this difference is especially marked for those in production management and directorship roles. 

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