Automotive industry set to create 18,000 new Midlands jobs claims report

THE automotive industry is poised to create more than 18,600 new jobs in the Midlands over the next two years as manufacturers bring production back to Britain, according to a new study by Lloyds Bank.

The bank’s report, Fuelling Growth, which surveyed English and Welsh manufacturers from across the automotive supply chain, found that nearly three-quarters (70%) of respondents are looking to ‘on-shore’ some of their operations by the end of 2016.

Almost half (45%) of manufacturers surveyed said they had already repatriated, on average, a fifth (20%) of their production. Businesses cited cost and time reduction, improving UK economic conditions and the desire to support local communities as reasons behind their decision.

Nationally, the report estimates that the sector will create 49,635 new jobs across England and Wales in the next 24 months.

Just over three-quarters (76%) of manufacturers in the sector expect to grow by up to 25% over the next two years, with an average of 18% expansion predicted. On average, each business plans to create 27 jobs over this time period, which the bank said equated to nearly 50,000 jobs.

While production is being brought back to Britain, the automotive sector is looking beyond domestic markets to achieve growth. More than two-thirds (68%) stated that entering new markets is key to achieving their growth ambitions. Almost three-quarters (74%) are looking to invest in or engage new international customers over the next two years, with Western Europe and North America the most popular targets.

David Atkinson, Head of Manufacturing, SME, Lloyds Bank, said: “Britain remains one of the leading players in automotive manufacturing, with a complex supply chain of high value engineering that is attracting significant inward investment. The sector’s growth in recent years, particularly in the Midlands, has made the automotive industry the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the nation’s economy, and this looks set to continue with thousands of new jobs predicted to be created.

“It is particularly encouraging to see the commitment of many firms to bring their manufacturing processes back onshore as a way of helping to support both local communities and the wider economic recovery of the UK.”