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Britain’s manufacturing companies are looking for the next generation of leaders to have better motivational and communication skills, an ability to connect with employees, and take a more holistic view of the business.


With short-term challenges including, the energy crisis, ongoing labour shortages, and economic difficulties, together with long-term challenges such as the race to net zero and improving productivity, it is now more crucial than ever for leaders in manufacturing to step up to the challenge.


In an era when employees are placing a premium on diversity, inclusion and equality, while investors are increasingly considering environmental and social governance factors, managers and leaders need to be able to drive change in a way that takes all stakeholders with them.

Given the challenges companies are facing, the increasing complexity of modern manufacturing, and the demands of employees and investors, management and leadership skills have never been more important for manufacturers.


As a result, companies are moving away from relying on just the technical skills to get the job done or, rewarding length of service, and towards those employees who make better humans. Motivation, ambition, and communication skills, together with the ability to act as a ‘North Star’ to employees, are now seen as far more import attributes in leaders and managers of the next generation.
Bhavina Bharkhada Head of Policy & Campaigns at Make UK
It’s clear that one of the major challenges for manufacturing now and over the coming years will be skills gaps in the workforce. We are already seeing this challenge met with the more widespread use of innovations such as augmented reality, virtual reality, independent cart technology, and artificial intelligence to turn raw data into contextualised ‘real-time’ information to enable digital workers.  Digital technology will be key in helping UK manufacturers address workforce challenges head-on, meet their KPIs, and remain competitive in the global marketplace. I’m excited about the future as I see this inflection point as a real opportunity for UK manufacturing.
Phil Hadfield UK Managing Director at Rockwell Automation

Available resources

Industry report / Make UK