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East of England

Sector profile

  • The East of England accounts for 9% of all engineering employment and 11% of all engineering establishments in Great Britain.
  • The engineering sector in the East of England employs 116,500 people in 7,890 establishments.
  • The largest sectors in terms of employment are mechanical equipment, electronics and metal products.
  • There are above average concentrations of employment in the electronics and mechanical equipment sectors when compared to Great Britain.
  • 95% of engineering establishments in the East of England employ less than 50 people.
  • Engineering employment is geographically concentrated around Basildon, Peterborough, Luton, South Cambridgeshire, Stevenage and Huntingdonshire.

Workforce demographics

  • 93% of the engineering workforce in the East of England is employed on a full-time basis.
  • 79% of the engineering workforce in the East of England is male.
  • About 5% of the engineering workforce in the East of England is non-white.

Recruitment issues and skills shortages

  • Over 10,000 people were recruited into the engineering sector in the East of England during March 2006/07.
  • 17% of engineering establishments in the East of England had hard-to-fill vacancies over that period.
  • The main reasons cited for hard-to-fill vacancies were a lack of applicants with required qualifications and skills and a lack of applicants with required work experience.
  • 21% of engineering establishments in the East of England reported skill gaps in the current workforce, mirroring the proportion within the UK (21%). The incidence of reported skill gaps ranges from 33% of other transport equipment establishments to 16% of metals establishments.
  • 18% of all engineering establishments within the East of England employed apprentices or recognised trainees (22% for UK engineering). However, this varies considerably by size of establishment, ranging from 42% of those employing 250 or more people to only 5% of those employing less than 10 people.

The sciences

The East of England has a thriving bioscience industry, Cambridge being home to:

  • Over 185 biotech companies
  • Around 20% of the world's Nobel Prize winners in medicine and chemistry
  • 17 of the UK’s publicly quoted biotech companies
  • A quarter of the public biotechnology companies in Europe

The following sectors are important to the region:

  • Drug discovery and development -organisations are active in all stages of the drug discovery and development for areas such as cancer, neurological, cardio-vascular, infectious diseases, diabetes, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases etc).
  • Bio-instrumentation and equipment
  • Research into novel drug delivery systems
  • Food and agricultural biotechnology -
  • Animal Healthcare - The main animal healthcare capability in the region is the Animal Health Trust (AHT) at Newmarket, a world leader in the treatment of diseases in animals in addition to undertaking pioneering research into the prevention and detection of diseases in animals.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010 and East of England Engineering Skills Balance Sheet Executive Summary 2008