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There are 3,600 process and manufacturing companies in Wales employing around 28,000 people. The sector in Wales appears to have been hit hard by the recession. Over one third of all businesses have contracted and a similar number have seen the size of their workforce reduced. However, over a third say they have experienced business expansion in the previous 12 months.

75% of employers in the sector employ between 1 and 10 people, 16% employ 11-49 people, 7% have 50-199 employees and 1% of companies employ more than 200 people. A significant number of sector companies in Wales fall within the Furniture, Extractive and Mineral Processing and Print sub-sectors.

Workforce statistics:

  • 83% of the workforce is male.
  • 97% of the workforce is white.
  • 88% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • 40% of the workforce is aged 45 years and older, whilst only 14% of the workforce is aged 16-24 years.

Process, plant and machine operatives and skilled trades are by far the largest occupational groups, comprising more than half of the workforce. Elementary occupations are the next largest group in Wales.

Major issues facing Welsh companies include a lack of demand for products, competition from within the UK, energy costs and a lack of credit.

The proportion of companies reporting vacancies has fallen, but at 9% is still quite high compared to the rest of the UK. 19% of organisations report skill gaps. Skill gaps are most prevalent in production and technical jobs.

Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – Wales 2010 and The 2009 Employer Survey – Wales

Sector profile in Wales, 2007/08


Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – Wales 2010, Table 1. Data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry 2007 and the Labour Force Survey 2008.