Employment in the UK aerospace industry decreased in 2004 by 6% to 114,345 people, although orders rose substantially, according to the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

In its annual survey, the SBAC says that on average, employment in the industry has decreased by 3% a year over the last 20 years, so the 2004 figure represents a slightly higher decrease than the average.

However, this does not reflect the industry’s overall recovery, with total aerospace orders increasing 28% from 2003 to £22.6 billion ($40 billion).

A further 140,000 people are estimated to be indirectly supported by the aerospace industry, bringing total UK aerospace employment to around 255,000 in 2004.

The survey also revealed that in 2004, 33% of all UK aerospace industry employees held a university degree of equivalent, while many others had received specialised, non-university training. Most UK aerospace workers (57%) work in production roles, also the area experiencing the biggest decline (8%) since 2003. Employee numbers in areas such as R&D remained the same.

The south-west, south-east and north-west of England are the three leading UK regions for aerospace employment, the south-west having the widest capability, including military aero-engines, airliner wing design and fabrications and large avionics and mechanical systems.

Source: Flight International