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UK Launches New Space Census to Collect Data on Workforce

By Mark Holmes | March 12, 2024

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The U.K. is launching a new Space Census as it aims to generate precise data on its space workforce and the challenges ahead as its looks to grow the space industry. This will be the second major census that the U.K. has done in this area. The national survey of space professionals is conducted by the Space Skills Alliance and collects information about who works in the sector, how they got here, and what their experiences have been. Space Skills Alliance revealed details about the new Space Census on March 12.

The results will be used to inform national space policy and sector strategy, and to improve what it’s like to work in the sector, tackle discrimination, and make the sector more attractive to new recruits.

The Space Census first ran in 2020, and its findings have been quoted in Parliament by the Science Minister, in reports by the Science and Technology Commons Select Committee and the OECD, and by many individuals and space organizations in the U.K. and abroad. In 2020, it provided some interesting findings such as highlighting that foreign nationals made up just under a fifth of the space workforce. It also revealed that space pay was competitive with other engineering sectors but not with the tech sector. It also said that 41% of women in the space sector had experienced discrimination.

“The Space Census provides a unique insight into the makeup of the sector’s demographics and the experiences of space sector employees, helping government and the UK Space Agency make more informed policy and delivery decisions,” Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said in a statement.

Space Skills Alliance encourages people working in the U.K. space sector to take the 10 to 15-minute survey online.

Bate spoke last week at UK Space-Comm Expo in Farnborough, and said that despite the tight fiscal environment, 2024 is likely to be a key year for the nation’s space industry.