Yorkshire & The Humber: The UK's Manufacturing Powerhouse

Get It Made analysed the most recent ONS workforce data provided by Nomis and found that Yorkshire and The Humber is now the UKs leading manufacturing region.

Yorkshire & The Humber: The UK's Manufacturing Powerhouse
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Yorkshire and The Humber has emerged as a shining beacon in the UK manufacturing sector, outperforming the rest of the country with an impressive 18.99% growth in their workforce between 2013 (264,788) and 2022 (315,084), according to data Get It Made analysed from nomisweb.co.uk. This figure is significantly higher than the UK average of 2.53% and even outpaces London's commendable 15.85% growth. The region outpaced other UK regions and demonstrated its significance in the national manufacturing landscape [1].

Yorkshire and The Humber have climbed from 5th biggest manufacturing workforce in the UK in 2013, to the largest in region in 2022.

The data not only cements Yorkshire and The Humber's position as a manufacturing powerhouse but also raises questions about the reasons behind the region's success. Experts point to a combination of factors, including a strong industrial heritage [2], excellent infrastructure and connectivity, a supportive business environment [3], and fruitful collaborations between industry and education institutions.

In comparison, other regions in the UK have experienced varying degrees of growth or decline in their manufacturing workforces. London, not typically known for its manufacturing prowess, witnessed a surprising 15.85%% increase over the same period [1]. This growth has piqued the interest of industry experts who speculate that new investments and the emergence of niche manufacturing sectors could be driving this trend.

On the other end of the spectrum, the North East and Wales saw their manufacturing workforces shrink by -11.06% and -7.43% respectively [1]. This decline could be attributed to factors such as increased global competition, a lack of investment in advanced manufacturing technologies, or regional economic challenges.

Despite the disparities among regions, the overall UK manufacturing workforce grew by 2.53% from December 2013 to December 2022 [1]. This growth is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the UK manufacturing industry, which has weathered challenges such as Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic [4].

The success of Yorkshire and The Humber in the manufacturing sector should serve as a valuable lesson for other regions looking to boost their manufacturing industries. By investing in infrastructure, fostering a supportive business environment [3], and promoting collaboration between academia and industry, regions across the UK can stimulate growth and create new employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector [4].

As the manufacturing workforce in Yorkshire and The Humber grew from 264,788 in 2013 to 315,084 in 2022, it is essential to understand the driving forces behind this success. Key factors include targeted investment, government support, and an attractive business environment that has drawn companies to the region.

One of the primary reasons for this rapid growth is the region's focus on advanced manufacturing, which has attracted significant investment from both private and public sectors. According to the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the region is home to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). The AMRC has been instrumental in fostering innovation and collaboration between academia and industry, drawing major companies such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce to establish facilities in the region.

Furthermore, the UK government has shown strong support for Yorkshire and The Humber's manufacturing sector through various initiatives. The Northern Powerhouse project, launched in 2014, aims to boost economic growth in the North of England, with a particular focus on major cities like Leeds, Sheffield, and Hull. As part of this initiative, the government has invested in improving transport infrastructure, supporting innovation, and creating new jobs in the region. Additionally, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has provided assistance for companies looking to expand their operations overseas, helping to drive exports and create a more resilient manufacturing base.

The region's attractiveness as a business destination has also contributed to its success. Yorkshire and The Humber offer a skilled workforce, reasonable operating costs, and excellent connectivity to the rest of the UK and Europe. This combination of factors has led to an influx of new businesses and expansions, contributing to the growth of the manufacturing workforce.

Strong growth in the female manufacturing workforce

Another success is the female workforce in Yorkshire and The Humber and it is an important aspect of the region's manufacturing industry growth. The region has the third-highest increase in the number of female manufacturing workers in the UK, with an increase of 26.60% from 2013 to 2022 [1]. This increase is a testament to the efforts made by businesses and the government in promoting gender equality in the workplace. The growth of the female workforce has also helped to address the skills gap in the sector, as women bring unique talents and perspectives to the industry. With a diverse workforce, the manufacturing industry in Yorkshire and The Humber is well-positioned to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of the market, which will continue to drive growth in the region.

Key Factors Contributing to the Growth

  1. Strategic Location: Yorkshire and The Humber's central location in the UK provides easy access to transport links, including major motorways, rail networks, and ports. This has been a significant factor in attracting manufacturing businesses to the area, enabling efficient distribution of goods throughout the country [5].
  2. Diverse Industry Base: The region has a diverse range of manufacturing sub-sectors, from food and drink to advanced engineering and chemicals [6]. This broad base has contributed to the resilience of the region's manufacturing industry, allowing it to adapt to changing market conditions and maintain a competitive edge.
  3. Skilled Workforce: Yorkshire and The Humber has a rich industrial heritage, which has cultivated a skilled and experienced workforce in the manufacturing sector. The region is also home to several universities and technical colleges, producing a pipeline of skilled graduates ready to join the workforce [7].
  4. Supportive Business Environment: The region has benefited from a range of initiatives aimed at supporting businesses, such as the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) [8]. These initiatives provide funding, advice, and resources to help businesses grow, fostering a supportive environment for the manufacturing industry.
  5. Investment in Infrastructure: Yorkshire and The Humber has seen significant investment in infrastructure projects, such as the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and the Green Port Hull development [9]. These projects have provided state-of-the-art facilities for manufacturing businesses, attracting new companies to the region and supporting existing ones.

In conclusion, Yorkshire and The Humber's remarkable growth in manufacturing can be attributed to a combination of targeted investment, government support, and an attractive business environment. The region serves as a model for other parts of the UK looking to strengthen their manufacturing sectors and highlights the importance of fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment in driving economic growth. With continued support and a focus on advanced manufacturing, Yorkshire and The Humber is well-positioned to maintain its status as a manufacturing powerhouse in the years to come.

For a full list of this UK manufacturing data, please contact Get It Made, team@get-it-made.co.uk
Get It Made is a UK online manufacturer offering many services. Request a Custom Aluminium Extrusion, Injection Moulding or CNC Machining quote today - as only a few examples.


[1] https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/
[2] https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05838/SN05838.pdf
[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy
[4] https://www.makeuk.org/
[5] https://www.insidermedia.com/news/yorkshire
[6] https://www.makeityork.com/
[7] https://futurestudents.yorku.ca/program/engineering
[8] https://www.the-lep.com
[9] https://www.theamp.co.uk and https://greenporthull.co.uk

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