BNSC – Size and Health of the UK Space Industry Survey 2008
The 2008 survey includes information on 205 companies actively involved in the space industry. For some companies, nearly all their business is space related. For others, the space sector represents less than 10% of their business. The companies ranged in size from those with a total turnover of less than £100K up to companies with a turnover of over £10 billion. The total turnover in 2006/7 was £5.8 billion, continuing the trend of steady growth shown in previous surveys. Total turnover grew in real terms by 6% between 2004/5 and 2005/6 and by nearly 8% between 2005/6 and 2006/7.
The survey found:
- 70% have a space related turnover of less that £1 million.
- However, a number of companies have moved into the higher turnover categories of £10-100 million and over £100 million, indicating both growth and consolidation in the industry.
- The proportion of companies dependent on the space industry for more than 75% of their turnover is similar to previous surveys at around 33%, with 40% of companies deriving less than 25% of their revenues from the space sector.
- The largest customer group is the commercial sector, accounting for just over 80% of the business, although the consumer customer proportion is lower than in the 2006 survey reflecting the rise in commercial satellite communications business. There has also been a significant rise in the amount of business with military customers.
Figure 1: Market share by customer type
Work with Space Agencies was 25% higher than in the 2006 survey and the total for institutional customers (civil and military) was £1,007 million, up more than 50% from the last survey.
Figure 2: Market share by customer location
Most of the work was UK based, reflecting the strong consumer sector.
Europe is the main non-UK customer. A major proportion of this is related to work with the European Space Agency.
- The United States is the next major export destination but with Asia showing growth since the previous survey.
- Broadcast, mainly the supply of satellite television services and equipment, continues to be the dominant application, but the share of turnover has declined from 72% to 66% with telecommunications rising from 20% to 26%.
- The rise in telecommunications reflects growth the satcoms sector generally.
- The other applications that have shown significant growth, albeit from a relatively low revenue base, are navigation and space science. The growth in navigation is as expected as the Galileo programme progresses.
- Employment in the UK Space Sector has risen by 16% since the last survey, to approximately 18,800 in 2006/7.
- Value added turnover per employee, that takes account of the proportion of work a company subcontracts, remains stable at £91k per employee in the upstream, compared to £92K in the 2006 survey.
- Employment in the space sector remains concentrated in the South of England, with over 50% of space sector companies in London and the South East and a further 25% in the South West. There is a small but growing contingent in the East Midlands (6%) and a number of companies in Scotland (5%).
- Companies were asked in which areas they felt that they were experiencing skill shortages. Engineering disciplines (electrical, mechanical and systems) headed the list followed by graduates with numerate degrees. Several companies also saw a growing need for software engineering in the future.
- The largest proportion of companies are looking at 0-10% growth over the next two years but with a notable number predicting growth of over 10%. Many of these are small companies but there are still a number of large companies in the survey predicting growth over the two years of more than 20%.