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Smart tech investment could create 2,000 manufacturing jobs by 2026

An additional 2,000 jobs could be created in Northern Ireland if manufacturers invest in smart factory technologies, new Barclays research has suggested
Gareth McKeown

AN additional 2,000 jobs could be created in Northern Ireland if manufacturers invest in smart factory technologies, new research has suggested.

The latest Barclays Corporate Banking Report has said the time is now for local companies to invest in smart tech or they risk being left behind.

A total of 60 per cent of manufacturers in the north surveyed stating they are confident about the UK’s ability to compete on an international scale over the next five years, but many are putting off necessary investment in transformative tech, with a quarter (26 per cent) blaming a lack of skilled workers for the delay.

Of those that have already invested, 56 per cent of manufacturers in the north state that the adoption of the new technologies has improved productivity, while 30 per cent are already seeing a return on investment.

The research estimates that if manufacturers adopt the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ (4IR) technology they could boost the UK economy by an additional £102 billion a year by 2026, while in Northern Ireland it could lead to the creation of 2,000 more jobs.

Corporate development director for Barclays in Northern Ireland, John Mathers said businesses that make the leap to new technologies will be rewarded.

"Our research shows that manufacturers in Northern Ireland already see the benefits of this cutting-edge technology, and many have started to match their intentions with investment. However, we are at a watershed. While the outlay may seem expensive for many at a time of economic uncertainty, the industry needs to raise its levels of investment in the skills and infrastructure needed to harness these new technologies and keep us more productive than other international manufacturing hubs."

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