By Max Clarke

Over the last six months, when the economy as a whole stagnated, manufacturing grew by 2.3%.

Since the recovery began, despite only accounting for around 13% of the economy, manufacturing has been responsible for one third of economic growth. Even in the first quarter of 2011, where the industry’s growth rate slowed a little, manufacturing accounted for approximately one quarter of total economic growth.

Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to drive UK economic growth on the back of export-led demand, with manufacturers optimistic about growth prospects in the short term, according to the second quarter 2011 ‘Manufacturing Outlook’ survey published today by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and BDO LLP.

“On the back of healthy output and order books, the intention to recruit amongst manufacturers has remained strong, with official data showing record levels of vacancies. However, the key issue is whether companies are able to meet their intentions and fill their vacancies with the highly skilled workers they require.

“What we are witnessing among our client base is the willingness to recruit,” Tom Lawton, Head of Manufacturing at BDO LLP, “- but it’s often very difficult for employers to find people with the adequate skills set to fit the role. We are faced with a short term problem that can only be overcome by long-term solutions.

“To ensure the UK retains its competitive edge, the Government must do more to emphasise education in engineering and manufacturing to guarantee its future workforce has the appropriate skills to deliver the sector’s needs.”

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