- What do researchers do? Labour market information
- Sector information
- Chemicals manufacturing
- Chemicals manufacturing: characteristics of the workforce
Chemicals manufacturing: characteristics of the workforce
This is a skilled sector. 47% of the workforce has at least a degree level qualification [UK Sector Skills Assessment], and in 2009, 8.3% or above of new graduate entrants had a doctorate. Graduate positions are concentrated in managerial and skilled professional jobs, with over 60% of managers in the sector, and nearly 80% of skilled professionals being educated to at least degree level.
Most UK employment is in England: 83% of employees and 86% of companies, with the North West the main region for employees: 22% of employees in the sector are based in NW England and 15% of companies. Other key locations for employment are the South East (12% of employees) and Yorkshire and the Humber (11% of employees). 12% of employers are based in the North East, which has a large number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The chemicals industry is a significant research sector in the UK. In 2008, it invested £628m in research and development, and around £1bn on capital expenditure in the UK.
According to the 2010 R&D Scoreboard [R&D Scoreboard 2010], 57 of the UK's top 1000 companies by R&D spend are in the sector, and 69 of the world's top 1000 R&D spenders, including one UK company, Johnson Matthey, are chemicals manufacturers.
In recent decades the industry has become less R&D intensive. The R&D investment of the top UK chemicals companies was over £500m in 2008, but was down from 2007 pre-recession levels [R&D Scoreboard 2010]. R&D investment by chemicals in the UK totals more than £21bn each year. R&D expenditure is predominantly (83%) funded by the industry itself [UK Sector Skills Assessment].
Companies significantly increasing R&D spend in recent years include ICI, Syngenta and Johnson Matthey. The highest R&D spend per company was found at small crop nutrition business Plant Impact, at lubricant specialists Lubrizol and at Afton Chemical, a medium-sized business specialising in fuel and lubricant additives.
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