The process and manufacturing sector contains over 800,000 people across the UK, and over 76,000 people work in the East of England. Around 82% of the companies in the sector in the East of England have fewer than 10 employees, and although only 1% of companies have more than 200 employees, they represent nearly a fifth of the total workforce.
The workforce in the region is dominated by male workers (76%), although the proportion of women in the sector is rising year on year.
Around 30% of employees in the region fall into the skilled trades. Other main occupational groups include managers (20%) and process, plant & machine operatives (17%). Recent forecasts suggest that employment in manual and semi-skilled roles will continue to decrease as this shift progresses, but also that there will be a simultaneous rise in higher level managerial and technical roles.
Some 21% of the employers in the region report specific skills gaps in their existing workforces and there is a need to raise skill levels across the whole sector to maintain and improve competitiveness.
61% of companies in the East of England reported a decline in sales over the last year, which is a much higher than across the rest of the UK (36%).
Higher proportions of the workforce are qualified to level 2 than in the UK workforce as a whole, but there are lower proportions of employees qualified at level 3 and above.
Around 21% of companies in the East of England report skill gaps, which is higher than the sector average (15%). Skill gaps exist across the range of occupational groups, but are most common in the East of England amongst skilled trades (22% of occupational group), process, plant & machine operatives (14% of occupational group) and Managers (7%). The most common skill gaps are those of a technical, practical or job-specific nature.
Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – England 2010
The East of England sector profile, 2007/08
Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – England 2010, annex B. Data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry 2007 and the Labour Force Survey 2008.