New research by Oxford Economics
has revealed the extent to which BAE Systems
contributes to the UK economy through jobs, R&D and national supply chains. In addition to developing skills and technologies critical for the defence of the nation, the research highlights that BAE Systems’ operations are helping to drive increased productivity and support the Government’s levelling up agenda.
The company’s significant UK footprint across more than 50 sites and extensive supply chain mean that in 2020, it supported 143,000 jobs across the country and contributed more than £10 billion to UK GDP, equivalent to 0.5% of the domestic economy.
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems chief executive, said: “Our sector not only supports our national defence and security, but also provides unparalleled economic value which drives the UK’s prosperity. The investment we make in highly skilled jobs, R&D and our extensive supply chain supports thousands of companies and tens of thousands of people and the communities in which they live.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “In every region of the UK, defence is driving prosperity, protecting the economy, providing jobs and building skills. BAE Systems is a leading light in that progress, helping us level up the country by supporting tens of thousands of jobs as we build back better from Covid-19. Through the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, we are deepening the relationship between the Government, industry and academia to bolster British innovation.“
Data shows that in addition to the company’s own 35,300 highly-skilled UK employees, nearly 59,000 jobs are supported around the supply chain with more than 49,000 jobs supported through employee and supplier spending.
The company has 5,000 UK suppliers from Scotland down to South West England who benefitted from £3.8 billion worth of spend in 2020. With more than 40% of its employees based in the UK’s most deprived local authorities, BAE Systems also spent £700 million with companies in these areas, making a significant impact to the local communities where it operates and playing a key role in ‘levelling up’.
More than two-thirds of BAE’s UK employees are in engineering-related roles and the research found that the highly skilled and technical nature of their work results in an average productivity of £83,000 per employee. That is 17% higher than the UK manufacturing sector and almost 30% higher than the average across the whole economy.
To ensure a robust pipeline of talent for the future, the company invested £93 million in skills, training and development activities in 2020. That included more than 2,000 apprentices and nearly 600 graduates in training across a wide range of roles from electronics and electrical, structural, software and research engineers, to manufacturing, operations and project management.
Continuing its support for young people, BAE Systems will this year recruit almost 1,700 apprentices and graduates across the country — 25% up on last year and the largest intake it has offered in a single year.
As well as investing in people, BAE Systems continues to invest in R&D, self-funding more than £100 million of research in the UK and is the ninth largest patent applicant in the UK. The company also delivered more than £1.1 billion of research activity on behalf of the UK Government, helping the country to drive technological innovation.
The global nature of BAE Systems, which has operations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and the USA means that the company was able to export £3.9 billion worth of goods and services from the UK — equivalent to 0.7% of all UK exports in 2020.