As the 2021 climate conference’s 2nd week commences, the programme turns its focus upon adaption and resilience.
In achieving a net zero carbon economy, the manufacturing sector has a key part to play. Not only by cutting its own greenhouse gas emissions, but also more crucially through the innovative products, processes and services that will become an integral part of the green industrial revolution. New digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IOT) will require more high skilled employees that can respond to these opportunities and challenges. If businesses are to capitalise on these opportunities, they must put people at the top of their agenda – all people. This means creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, with companies making use of the wider talent pool available.
Why should Manufacturer’s adopt inclusive and digital measures?
As the data would suggest from Make UK’s ‘Manufacturing our Recovery through Inclusion’ report, inclusivity is not only good for business but for innovation as well. Within the report, it was found that businesses that have a diverse and inclusive workforce are:
- 25%-36% more likely to outperform their competitors on profitability
- When it comes to decision making, possessing a 30% greater ability of spotting, and reducing business risks
- When leaders are perceived by their teams as being inclusive, 84% report feeling more motivated and 81% indicate it has a positive impact on their productivity
By 2025, 65% of the global workforce will be made up of Gen Z and Millennials. As our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion report suggests, these are groups that have been found to want their workplace to be fostering innovative thinking, develop their skills and most importantly, be inclusive.
Harnessing the power of the UK manufacturing sector by embracing the full potential of the entire working population can help to support this transition to a net zero carbon economy. Digital adoption is therefore a must if the sector is to achieve net zero by 2050.
As such, to successfully make this transition high skilled employees will be needed as cutting-edge technologies begin to take shape and transform the manufacturing industry as part of the 4th industrial revolution. And, as Make UK’s ‘Industry 4.0’ fact card suggests, early adoption of these new and innovative technologies is a transition manufacturer’s have welcomed, with an increasing % of companies citing the benefits of digital adoption:
- 56% reduced costs and improved productivity
- 38% better quality products
- 34% improved energy efficiency
- 33% improved raw material and waste efficiency
How can Government support?
Whilst inclusivity in the workplace has made a real working difference to manufacturers’ productivity, resiliency, and efficiency, with manufacturers’ also benefiting from higher levels of innovation and increased revenue as a result. Nevertheless, to continue this positive trend the Government must continue to support manufacturers through supportive Government policies, whilst ensuring the right policy levers are in place to do so. As such, Make UK have made the following recommendations to the Government:
- Publishing accessible workforce data by locality to enable employers to assess their workforce diversity against their local area
- Continuing to promote greater pay transparency among larger businesses and providing best practice for small businesses to participate
- Expand the Help to Grow Digital to other software, designed with manufacturers in mind
- Extend the 130% investment super-deduction beyond March 2023 to incentivise manufacturers, specifically SMEs, to invest, including in digital and green technologies
- Full roll out of Made Smarter
It has never been more urgent, for the survival of this sector, to deliver digital transformation and solutions to climate change. To achieve this, we need more highly skilled employees from all sections of society and support from a Government that must help the UK manufacturing deliver an unprecedented transition to a green, sustainable, and resilient future.