The engineering sector has been a cornerstone of the UK’s economy over the years, and will be a factor in building the nation’s prosperity as Britain braces itself for a new future. A lot has gone down in the sector and there is a number of issues to be addressed if the economy will see growth in the coming years.
Presently, in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA), the contribution of engineering to the UK’s GDP is 26% – more than that of the financial and insurance as well as retail and wholesale sectors combined – according to analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research(Cebr).The analysis put the figure contributed by the sector at £486 billionin 2015.
But the future may look different as the global economy continues to evolve, engineering innovations continue to soar, competitiveness on the global market keeps rising, and political issues currently besetting the UK continue to look more uncertain. However, with the proper strides in the engineering sector, the British economy can enjoy sustainable growth.
How will Engineering Contribute?
Engineering is a broad umbrella term itself that covers different principles and engagements. Aspects of engineering that can impact a country’s economy includes civil engineering, Chemical engineering, production and manufacturing, mechanical engineering, alternative energy production, construction, aerospace engineering and a host of others according to what is being practiced in said country.
Major engineering projects would facilitate prosperity by smoothening the path for other economic processes, not to mention the good it does for UK based heavy equipment manufacturers. Good transportation networks for example, will increase workforce mobility which will go a long way in boosting productivity; good internet coverage will increase efficiency; great building engineering and sanitation will improve quality of life; the list goes on. The importance of engineering permeates almost every other sector that contributes to the economy.
When implemented effectively, these factors will combine to make the country look appealing for foreign investments, increase their productive competitive edge in the global market, and ultimately boost prosperity.
Embracing an Engineering policy worthy of the future
The UK economy is currently facing one of its greatest tests as political pressure continues to mount. Think tanks continue to forecast poor economic growth in the coming years and general confidence is running low. Experts have concluded that a major step forward will be empowering the economy through major engineering projects.
The Autumn budget rolled out by Phillip Hammond in 2017 has been touted as a boost for the industry and a positive budget for engineers due to issues addressed and funds targeted at certain engineering projects like the infrastructure for electric cars. It is however important to note that a large amount of the UK labour force comes as a result of the EU’s free movement policy. Therefore, tackling labour issues connected to engineering will be a right step in the right direction.
Also, in order to stand a chance in the global market when it comes to engineering, the UK should embrace the latest trends in science and technology, foster education and apprenticeship in the sector, and shape out a positive deal at the Brexit negotiations table.
According to the Cebr, engineering activity has a wider employment multiplier effect than most sectors, with each engineering job supporting another 1.74 jobs. This shows that, untop of the jobs engineering projects has to offer, there will be positive ripple effects in other sectors in terms of more jobs. The sector currently employs 5.7 million people, and the number will only rise if bigger projects are embarked on in the coming years.