Manufacturers Prioritize Workforce Wellbeing Amid Economic Challenges

by Anna

Over the past year, manufacturers have upheld their commitment to employee health and wellbeing, maintaining high levels of spending despite economic difficulties, according to recent research by Make UK, the manufacturers’ organization.

The survey, titled “A Healthier Manufacturing Workforce – Wellbeing and Work in UK Manufacturing,” indicates that 48.6% of companies have increased their investment in health and wellbeing, while 45.7% have maintained their spending levels.


Mental health issues have emerged as the primary cause of long-term sickness absence, with 40% of employers citing it as the main factor. In response, manufacturers are prioritizing investments in workplace adjustments, access to counseling, mental health support, and overall health and wellbeing promotion.


Investment in health and safety technologies is also transforming manufacturing workplaces into safer environments. Nearly half of the surveyed companies (44.8%) are investing in safety display screens, 37.4% are increasing their automation budgets, and 36% are implementing smart PPE equipment. Additionally, 24.7% of manufacturers are adopting software and devices to monitor health and safety risks, which has significantly reduced accidents and issues.


Employee awareness and ownership of health and safety are also on the rise. A notable 27.4% of workers are actively utilizing available wellbeing incentives, reflecting a cultural shift toward collaborative safety practices. Supervisors continue to enforce health measures, but employees are increasingly taking responsibility for their own and their colleagues’ wellbeing.


Health and wellbeing now account for approximately 30% of company training budgets, underscoring the importance of these issues at the board level. Nearly 41% of manufacturers train their senior teams on health and wellbeing, while over 53% provide bespoke sessions to embed these principles into company culture.

Make UK urges the Government to broaden tax benefits for businesses investing in occupational health and wellbeing. Jamie Cater, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at Make UK, emphasized that workforce wellbeing is crucial for productivity, especially amid ongoing recruitment and retention challenges.

“Our research shows that the sector recognizes the benefits of investing in workforce wellbeing,” Cater said. “The Government needs to fulfill its promise to expand tax relief on health and wellbeing services to prevent more people from leaving work due to sickness.”

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