The UK electronics manufacturing industry 1997-2003: A case study of the effect of globalization

D P Webb, F M Reed, P Carpineta, K Walsh
2006 Proceedings of the Institution of mechanical engineers. Part B, journal of engineering manufacture  
Statistical data and information from industry interviews are used to build a picture of the implications of, and responses to, globalization in the key industry of electronics contract manufacturing in the UK. A comprehensive list of companies in the sector with associated employment and turnover data has been created from a variety of sources. Comparison of 2003 data with a 1997 dataset produces a unique longitudinal statistical picture of the industry over a period marked by the increasing
more » ... fluence of globalization. Total employment in the industry has decreased by 39 per cent from approximately 37 600 to 23 100 between 1997 and 2003. This breaks down into a decline in the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing subsector of 61 per cent, from 16 300 to around 6400, and a much smaller decline in the printed circuit board sub-contract assembly (PCBA) subsector of 22 per cent, from approximately 21 400 to 16 700. There has been a major shift in employment distribution away from large companies. Interview results indicate that the loss of large company capacity may have strategic implications for future technological capability. However, the UK is seen as a source of innovation and retention of strong engineering skills is key to bringing new products to the market.
doi:10.1243/09544054b13704 fatcat:ptnjk3oylfgybc5h66hsklpzse