The chemical sector today consists of more than 1,000 companies – including large global multinationals, medium sized companies, and small enterprises. Between them they span the whole supply chain, from energy and feedstocks to pharmaceuticals and consumer products.
The sector is one of the major contributors to the UK economy, generating £48.7bn industry turnover and £17.8bn Gross Value Added (GVA). This is comparable to the contributions of the life sciences, automotive and aerospace sectors.
The sector is responsible for sustaining nearly 400,000 jobs throughout the country. For every direct job, around two more are supported in purchased services and supply chains, resulting in 140,000 people employed directly and 254,000 people employed indirectly.
With annual exports of £50bn, and accounting for 10% of exported goods and services, chemistry companies represent the nation’s top manufacturing export earners.
The sector has shown strong productivity growth, surpassing the average productivity growth rate of UK manufacturing during the period 2000-2017. The UK’s productivity in this sector for the period 2000-2014 was higher than the average of the EU, making the UK more productive than Germany, France, and Italy. It is in the country’s interest to ensure that this productivity growth continues if the sector is to continue to enhance its contribution to the UK economy and compete with other global producers.