The UK electronic systems industry could grow to £120bn by 2020 and support 150,000 additional jobs, according to a new report.
The ESCO Report (Electronics Systems: Challenges and Opportunities), a strategy document launched today and created for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills by leading members of the industry, aims to grow the sector by 55 per cent in seven years.
The rise from today’s £78 to £120bn would place the sector among the top 5 UK industries, contributing 7.1 per cent of GDP by 2020 and supporting over 1 million skilled jobs, making it a top-5 UK employer.
Pond Ventures’ Jamie Urquhart, who chaired ESCO, says: “This technology is the basis for almost all facets of our lives, from communications to healthcare to transport to education.
“By working closely together to implement the recommendations we can achieve significant economic growth.”
The report makes several key recommendations, including measures to improve supply chains and strategic procurement, the skills pipeline and the formation of a think tank to identify future growth sectors.
But, the report also warns failure to take immediate action on these recommendations will have implications for the competitiveness of every industrial sector and the UK economy.
Business and energy minister Michael Fallon says: “This strategy is a welcome analysis of the growth opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
“Electronic systems underpin many of the world’s economic activities; from education and healthcare to communications and entertainment. This is an accelerating trend and we will continue to see more and more products and services that rely on electronics.
“The strategy heralds a new working partnership between industry and Government towards long-term growth for this vitally important sector.”
The report also highlights that critical shortages of high-end skills are hindering growth, and that there is a need to attract more of the brightest young people into careers in the industry, with particular emphasis placed on creating awareness of the sector’s importance, career opportunities, apprenticeships and graduate skills initiatives.
Warren East, CEO of chip company ARM who backs the report, says: “ARM has demonstrated that UK businesses can achieve global leadership from a UK base. To make sure that we produce ‘more ARMs’ in the future, both business and Government need to drive change.
“With the great potential that exists here we must ensure we create the right culture and climate in the UK to foster talent for the technology businesses of tomorrow.”