A report has revealed 83% of UK manufacturers are preparing for a hard Brexit and seeking new links with countries outside of the EU. 

The study – co-authored by Dr Hongwei Zhang and Professor Sameh Saad from Sheffield Hallam University and Jon Moody of SSG Insight – is based on research carried out among leading manufacturing executives. 

It shows nearly half (44%) have targeted Asia, as well as the Americas, Africa and the Middle East.  

The findings also reveal manufacturers are more than twice as likely to point to global competition than Brexit when asked what challenges the industry faces. 

Harnessing the power of the Internet of Things and the capability to handle connected data are also seen as challenges. 

More than half (59%) of the organisations quizzed say they plan to invest in smart, connected technology to drive forward international growth.  

20% will invest in machinery and hardware, 18% in research and development and 17% in sales and marketing. 

Whatever the future holds for these companies and many more, there are roles in production and manufacturing that will remain incredibly important for the UK economy. 


Manufacturing companies are always on the lookout for new recruits to the factory floor, from the loaders to the packers, the cleaners to the carriers.  

In the food and drink manufacturing industry we also need operators who ensure everything meets the highest quality control standards and is where it should be, labelled correctly and transported properly. 

Aside from the ability to concentrate and remain focused on repetitive duties, production operatives also need to be able to follow directions accurately – and work efficiently in order to keep up with the pace of the machinery.  

Specialist manufacturing  

Whether it’s providing artisan food and drink or creating complex aeronautical and satellite components, the specialist manufacturing trade in the UK is a major force.  

This means there’s a high demand for innovative mechanical, chemical and electrical engineers, as well as specialist assembly operators. 

Quality control 

This sector is all about pinpointing inconsistencies in production quality, being alert for problems even before they arise and, at the end of the day (or night shift), ensuring every single product that leaves a factory or facility is up to the high standards the company and customer expect.  

This role takes dedication and demands a keen, trained eye. 


From fish processing to pharmaceutical production, every factory needs to be properly managed to ensure everything goes to plan.  

The job of manager relies on a cool, calm and collected head, as well as a natural aptitude for communication and leadership.  

Workers need to be able to raise concerns and interact with a manager who can juggle many tasks yet always be focused. 

Health and safety  

The protection of workers is paramount in any manufacturing setting, whether that’s a factory with fast moving machinery or a warehouse with heavy loads being moved.  

Being on-site to monitor working practices and the safety of machinery means this is a hands-on, feet-on-the-ground job. 

Nuts and bolts 

In nearly every sector, machines are an integral part of the production process – some are robots that work closely with production operators.  

But even these need human technicians to work them and, when things go wrong, to repair them.  

That’s why technicians and maintenance engineers fulfil some of the most important roles on the factory floor.  

If you’d like to explore job opportunities in the production and manufacturing sector, there are vacancies currently available online.