Knowledge & Insight

The UK Aerospace Industry - a global success story

Tue 25 March 2014

Forget the fact that the UK doesn’t build a complete passenger airliner anymore. In today’s globalised marketplace, construction and assembly are increasingly fragmented in many industries. What’s important is that the UK retains the capability to design and manufacture everything from fuselages and wings, to flight control systems and jet engines. The expertise and experience that helped create iconic aeroplanes like the Spitfire and the Harrier hasn’t been lost. It has merely evolved and is now deployed on a variety of different projects.

Home to the world’s aerospace giants

The UK is second only to the USA in terms of the size of its aerospace sector, boasting a turnover of around £12 billion and a 17% share of the global aerospace market. The sector is dominated by giants like Airbus, Boeing, Rolls Royce and Bombardier, together with suppliers like GKN Aerospace who lead the way in innovative aerostructure development. As demand for commercial airliners continues to expand, the challenge for the industry is therefore how to increase the 17% share, how to attract more investment, and how to develop the skills required to continue driving innovation and growth.

Leading the way in defence aerospace

The UK is a major player in the defence aerospace sector. Led by BAE Systems, UK military aircraft manufacturers deliver a £35 billion injection into the UK economy every year. This includes major contributions from Rolls-Royce, Airbus UK who manufacture wings for the A400m Atlas military transporter, and Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland. With operations across many UK regions, the defence aerospace sector also provides a great many skilled job opportunities outside of the South East.

Broad aerospace expertise

One of the great strengths of the UK aerospace sector is its broad research base which supports and promotes innovation in all subsectors of the industry. Many UK universities are at the cutting edge of aerospace technology development, working in partnership with commercial companies to pioneer research into composite materials, jet propulsion systems and aerostructure design. This relationship between industry and academia has proved to be particularly productive, with a great many valuable innovations now adopted into front-line design and production methodologies.

Aerospace executive search

There are many factors behind the ongoing success of the UK aerospace industry, not least of which is the outstanding leadership at the helm of the global giants that dominate this industry, together with the many smaller firms that operate in niche sectors. In such a dynamic industry, firms require leaders with the vision to take bold decisions and to anticipate changes in global demand, so that their companies are well-placed to match the needs of a rapidly changing marketplace. Identifying and recruiting such individuals requires the services of a specialised aerospace executive search firm. Stone Executive is an experienced aerospace headhunter with a proven ability to identify, engage and attract the brightest talent in the business. Our recruitment consultants are experts in aerospace executive search. With a professional network that spans global manufacturers and a diverse range of niche engineering companies, our experienced aviation headhunters have a unique ability to deliver on the most demanding of briefs.

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