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Business Confidence within the Engineering Industry

We are living in extraordinary times and like every industry, the events of 2020 have had a major impact on engineering. The sector has been crucial in the fight against COVID – helping to set up Nightingale Hospitals, producing new ventilator designs and driving innovation that enables people to continue living safely, such as the development of vital PPE.

Brexit also had an effect. Despite the trade deal, much is still made of the additional layer of bureaucracy leaving the EU has presented and could be viewed as an obstacle to UK business interests abroad.

So, faced with this stark economic backdrop and continuing uncertainty, how are those within the industry really feeling?



November 2020 ‘The Engineer’ annual business confidence survey with industry leaders

In November 2020, The Engineer conducted its first annual business confidence survey*. It asked industry leaders to share their thoughts on the year ahead, what technology areas and sectors they expect to dominate, and how they expect their own organisations to perform. The survey was completed by 389 respondents from a range of different sectors including manufacturing, automotive and aerospace. 90 per cent of the sample group were at senior engineer level or above, with the remaining respondents at CEO or MD level.

  • 50 per cent of respondents were confident about the year ahead
  • 85 per cent of said business confidence would be enhanced by a trade deal
  • A third expected investment in R&D and new product development to flatline
  • 54 percent said the pandemic has been a spur for innovation
  • Digitalisation and Automation were identified as key technology areas for 2021
  • The pharma, medical and renewables sectors were expected to enjoy a strong year

Survey findings reveal industry leaders are both concerned and bullish about prospects in 2021

The findings were enlightening and revealed an industry that is both concerned and unexpectedly bullish about the prospects for 2021. It’s clear that investing in the future will be key for 2021, along with greater collaboration between organisations in order to tap into new skills.

In a post-Brexit world, with the economic fallout from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to champion our home-grown success stories. As the vaccination programme ramps up, the wheels of industry continue turning and we eventually start talking about the COVID-19 in the past tense, we can expect to see more successes evolving and the sector re-emerging stronger than ever.

* Source:

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