Space jobs in Northern Ireland more than triple

There are now 1,293 space organisations located across the UK.

Space jobs in Northern Ireland have more than tripled in the last financial year, it has emerged.

New figures released today by the UK Space Agency show employment in Northern Ireland’s space sector grew by 318, rising from 113 in 2019 to 431 in 2020.

There are now 1,293 space organisations located across the UK and plans for spaceports are likely to increase jobs in the coming years, alongside the growth of regional space clusters, international investment, and emerging technologies, such as in-space manufacturing and debris removal, supported by the National Space Strategy. 

Despite the global impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, employment across the wider UK space sector reached 46,995 in 2020, up from 44,040 in 2019, an increase of 2,955 (6.7%).

Overall, the sector income increased in nominal terms from £16.4billion to £16.5billion in 2020.

Space manufacturing, including satellites, spacecraft, launch vehicles and scientific instruments, grew the most in real terms; up by £23million to £2.27billion.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said: “Northern Ireland’s strong track record in aerospace, defence, cybersecurity and data analytics means that it is uniquely positioned to capitalise on new opportunities presented by the UK’s ambitions to develop a strong, vibrant space economy.

“The UK’s growing space sector means high quality jobs for Northern Ireland which has seen the growth of the number of people employed in the space sector here over the past year.

“The world-class expertise and talent that exists in Northern Ireland is playing a key role in helping the UK realise its potential in the global space sector as we continue to make great strides in space exploration and discovery.”

Science Minister George Freeman said: “The £16.5billion space sector is a major contributor to a strong and secure UK economy, and it’s promising to see it generate thousands of new high-skilled jobs in the face of global economic headwinds.

“We’re backing this innovative and resilient industry through the largest ever increase to R&D spending, which includes a significant uplift to the UK Space Agency’s budget, and the delivery of the UK’s first National Space Strategy.

“Looking ahead to the first satellite launches from the UK this year, this is an exciting time for this high growth sector up and down the country.”

The figures published today come from the ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry 2021’ survey, conducted by BryceTech on behalf of the UK Space Agency.