New research reveals average age of leaders in Manufacturing businesses


New research shows that manufacturing is paving the way for collaborative leadership teams with millennials taking the forefront as directors.

With the likes of Gymshark’s Ben Francis and BBC Dragon Steven Bartlett and the yearly reveal of Forbes 30 under 30 which highlights young entrepreneurs such as Natalie Ojevah, Vice President of Barclays, millennial bosses are paving the way for the future of business.

The figures, compiled by Approved Business Finance, used Companies House data and analysed 2,000 founders, CEOs and managing directors of the UK’s biggest businesses across 20 different sectors to reveal the average age for each industry. 

Manufacturing was revealed to have an average age of 52. But within this space, company directors such as Anthony Mellor at White2Label and Daniel Atkins at DSA Manufacturing are the ages of 25 and 31 proving the future leadership team is getting younger. 

The research shows trends that millennials are quickly climbing that career ladder with over 50 per cent of young people managing companies before the age of 30.

Start-ups are becoming more prevalent and support such as asset finance can help to ease the burdens of financial pressures and allow young directors to focus on the growth of the business. 

The average age of CEO’s and managing directors in the UK by industry*

Architecture was revealed to have on average the highest age (59) in director positions, with the majority of managers being between the ages of 50 - 70.

The automotive and transport and logistics sectors share an average director age of 58-years-old. Interestingly, across the top 100 companies in each sector, none had an average age below 50 years old.  

The research highlights that these similar industrial sectors could be generational, as within the construction industry 574,275 businesses are family owned and, within the transport sector, over 250,000 are family enterprises.

Combining both sets of expertise and knowledge could have the potential to boost productivity and create an innovative workplace. Older employees may pick up newer skills and in return, younger employees can benefit from the experience of senior executives. 

Rory Dunn, Founder of Approved Business Finance, said: “Bridging the gap between older and younger generations could be the key to creating a successful business. In today’s competitive market, organisations need to be innovative to stay ahead of the competition and even within our own team, this has proved beneficial.

“At Approved, the wider management team are all in their 30s and myself and other shareholders are all on the younger side compared to the industry average. Having a mixture of ages creates a well-rounded team; everyone can bounce off each other and it produces a tenacious and resilient environment which is great for the growth of a company. 

“Many young CEOs are demonstrating that there are ways for under-30s to enter what was once considered the domain of their elders and become effective business leaders. By working together, both can learn from each other and build a company that is rewarding for those within the business.”

Hayley Smith, Communications Director at BE YELLOW also shares: “It is interesting, but not surprising that we are seeing a rise in young leaders. With the rise of YouTube and social media, younger people have gained access to online training, and skill development - opportunities that previous generations didn’t necessarily have access to. They are also learning key innovative and creative skills that they then apply to leadership roles.

“Younger leaders are more likely to challenge the status quo and we have seen on several occasions that young people drive and make permanent change.”


Approved Business Finance compiled 100 different companies in each industry sector and using Companies House analysed:

  • The name and age of managing directors
  • Found the average age for each sector
  • Data correct as of July 2023. 

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