Skip to content
UK aerospace and Defence sector is a massive contributor to the UK economy
James BrookJun 26, 2024 12:00:59 PM4 min read

The £38 billion Impact from the Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Space Sectors on the UK Economy

The £38 billion Impact from the Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Space Sectors on the UK Economy

According to ADS Group, the aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors collectively added £38.2 billion in value to the UK economy in 2023. The latest report from ADS Group underscores the significant contributions of these sectors to the UK economy, showcasing remarkable growth and resilience over the past decade.

This article looks at the Impact of Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Space Sectors on the UK Economy in 2023 using the latest data issued by the ADS Group. 

Economic Growth and Export Performance

According to ADS Group, the aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors collectively added £38.2 billion in value to the UK economy in 2023, reflecting a 50% increase over the last ten years. Business turnover in these sectors surged by 40%, reaching a combined total of £88.4 billion in 2023. Notably, almost half of this turnover was generated through exports, which grew by 32% to £38.7 billion compared to 2013.

UK Defence sector (2)

Employment and Regional Impact

Employment in these sectors rose by 29% since 2013, with 427,500 jobs recorded in 2023. This includes 23,000 apprenticeship positions, highlighting the sector's commitment to nurturing new talent. Significantly, two-thirds of these jobs are located outside London and the South East, ensuring widespread economic benefits across the UK.

Economic Resilience and Productivity

Aimie Stone, Chief Economist at ADS Group, remarked on the sectors' resilience and continued growth despite global challenges.

“The latest figures reflect the continued buoyancy, resilience and economic resolve that our sectors continue to deliver to the UK. Despite a global pandemic stalling manufacturing productivity, an ongoing critical skills gap, and demand outstripping capacity, we are still seeing strong long-term growth indicators as we continue through 2024.”

Stone also noted the impressive productivity levels, with average productivity per worker at £89,300, and the creation of over 400,000 jobs. Exports worth nearly £39 billion underscore the immense value these sectors contribute to the UK economy.

Aerospace production capacity cant keep up with growth

Leveraging technology to increase productivity in the aerospace sector

At FourJaw, we are dedicated to enhancing productivity and operational efficiency for manufacturers across the aerospace, defence, and security sectors. The latest data from the ADS Group highlights the importance of the sector to the UK economy, significantly contributing the the GDP, employment and overall prosperity of the country. 

We are lucky to work with some of the leading aerospace and defence companies in the UK, working with them by providing technology that enables them to maximise productivity across their factory operations. 

Case Study: Aerospace component manufacturer finds 273 lost productive hours per week

With increasing inflationary cost pressures, skills shortages and longer lead times for machinery and equipment, SPS Technologies, part of PCC Fasteners challenged itself to increase the overall productivity of its manufacturing operations. The business was looking for an overall uplift in output of 50% by the middle of 2024.

To achieve the 50% uplift, the business recognised it needed to engage in several strategic projects. Whilst the management team acknowledged that they needed to invest in more machinery and people, they recognised that they also needed to ensure they were getting the most they could out of their current asset base.

Initially, the team set an objective to increase machine utilisation by two-per-cent which would reduce overall labour costs by around £10,000 per month and to achieve this, they turned to our manufacturing analytics platform to achieve it. 

Read the case study to find out how they saved more than 270 lost productive hours per week. 

SPS Timeline View two

To increase productivity, SPS Technologies needed to understand how productive machines were and what opportunity for improvement was available. To achieve this, they used FourJaw's machine monitoring platform to capture accurate and timely data from their equipment.


Aerospace Sector OUTLOOK

In conjunction with the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow, ADS released its 2024 Aerospace Sector Outlook.

The report highlights a 16% increase in value added by the aerospace sector, reaching £19.9 billion in 2023. The sector supports 104,000 direct jobs with a median salary of £48,700, which is 39% higher than the UK average. Furthermore, 88% of these jobs are based outside London and the South East, spreading economic benefits across the country.

Despite the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aerospace sector continues to add substantial value to the UK economy. Productivity per worker stands at £104,800, and the average salary of £48,700 remains significantly higher than the national average.

Final word

Kevin Craven, CEO of ADS Group, emphasised the broad impact of these sectors, stating,

“ADS sectors are at the heart of UK advanced manufacturing and innovative digital services. Our true value extends beyond our economic footprint, underpinning UK society, families and our way of life.”

Craven highlighted the impressive 50% increase in value added by these sectors over the last decade and their role in providing 427,500 jobs nationwide. He also pointed to their contribution to UK prosperity and innovation, particularly in advanced manufacturing and driving the decarbonization agenda.

The aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors are pivotal to the UK economy, demonstrating robust growth, resilience, and widespread economic contributions. At FourJaw, we are proud to support these industries in their continuous improvement initiatives, ensuring they remain productive, operationally efficient, and cost-effective.

Data source: ADS Group, June 2024. 


James Brook

A passionate and experienced Marketing Leader with a background of 15+ years in developing and implementing marketing, brand, and product strategies for companies across a breadth of sectors and geographies. Over the last five years, James has worked in the technology space, having led the global marketing function at an Industrial monitoring and control company and more recently joining FourJaw as Head of Marketing & Communications. FourJaw is a SaaS business that is helping to change the world of manufacturing productivity through its IoT machine monitoring platfom.