More work for UK subcontractors


New research has shown that two thirds of UK manufacturers used subcontractors in the past year and nearly half expect to increase the amount of work they give to UK subcontractors.

This is underlined by the finding that 45% are more likely to nearshore based on the developments of the last 18 months

The research carried out by the Subcon show revealed that this was mainly driven by a lack of in-house capacity (45%), a desire amongst manufacturers and engineering businesses to focus on core competencies (38%) and to get access to skills that are lacking inhouse (35%).

Of those engineering and manufacturing businesses that do use UK subcontractors:

  • 70% outsource up to 30% their requirements
  • More than half (60%) outsource £10,000-£100,000
  • A further quarter outsource £100,000 to £500,000 annually
  • One quarter have spent more on UK subcontracting over the last 12 months

“Given the impact of the pandemic on manufacturing, this research is a very healthy indicator for the future of UK subcontracting,” said Gordon Kirk, event director, Subcon. 

“Almost half (45 per cent) of respondents are more likely to nearshore as a result of the pandemic and 41 per cent expect to appoint new UK subcontractors in the next 12 months. A similar number confirm that they use tradeshows to source them, too, which is why Subcon remains such a critical event for this sector and why we are so thankful we are able to bring it back in-person in two weeks’ time.

“We look forward to lots of debate on the exhibition floor and conference stage to identify the trends that will define this increased activity among the subcontractor community and beyond.”

Subcon takes place 14-16 September at Birmingham’s NEC and registration is free at