2016 is set to be a challenging year for UK manufacturers. More than two-fiths of companies surveyed for EEF’s Executive Survey 2016 believed that there are more risks than opportunities for their business in the coming year. This has had an impact on overall recruitment plans. After two years of very positive recruitment intentions, our Executive Survey found that the outlook has moderated signi cantly.
There is a fair degree of sub-sectoral variation, with the weakness in employment balances concentrated in the oil and gas and the construction supply chains. In addition, electrical and mechanical equipment for the former, and rubber and plastics manufacturers are also looking to reduce staff in response to a large drop in domestic orders. On the ip side, employment balances in the transport sector remain strong. Against this backdrop, this report nds weaker plans to recruit engineering professionals in the year ahead.
Pinpointing demand for engineering professionals
Past recruitment for engineering professions has focused on mechanical engineers, with 60% having recruited a mechanical engineer in the last three years. This increase has largely been driven by the rubber and chemicals, the machinery and the metals sectors. However, each of these sectors, and indeed others (transport and electrical), have more limited plans to recruit such positions in the next three years (see Chart 1).
Many occupations in manufacturing are considered ‘hard-to- ll’ Manufacturing remains an industry for which many vacancies are considered ‘hard-to-fill’. While other industries – electricity, gas and water, and transport and communications – have seen increases in the number of hard-to-fill vacancies, we cannot ignore the fact that the proportion of vacancies considered hard to ll in manufacturing still remains high, at 35%. This has not improved since 2013 and has worsened since 2011.
Research from the UKCES nds that manufacturing has a high density of skills-shortage vacancies.8 Our research echoes these ndings. The main driver behind manufacturers’ recruitment dif culties is a lack of technical skills among applicants, cited by 68% of employers. Employers also report that applicants lack relevant experience; this has increased to 61%, up from 57% in our 2012 survey. Where we have seen improvements, however, is in quali cation levels, with around a third now citing this as a problem, compared to 45% in 2012 (Chart 3).
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at An up-skill battle – Engineering Employers Federation (UK)
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