Skills shortage in Manufacturing Industry

The Executive & Technical (E&T) division of New Appointments Group has significant experience in providing quality candidates for highly skilled and management roles in the manufacturing sector. Through a comprehensive range of sources, including major job sites, social media, our own network of contacts and internal database means we can find the talent when others can’t. In fact the number of new candidates registering on our internal database for skilled and senior manufacturing or engineering roles in the first half of 2016 increase by 16% compared to the same period in 2015.

Although the manufacturing industry has experienced something of a slowdown in recent months, the Manufacturing PMI indicates continued expansion over the longer term. It is this longer term view that is taken into account in the Education & Skills Survey 2015 published by the CBI & Pearson. The report examines the current and future skills requirements of various sectors of the UK economy and highlights significant challenges for the manufacturing industry.

The areas of most concern seem to be recruitment of suitable people to fill higher skill level roles, and senior management and leadership roles. The survey states that 69% of manufacturing companies surveyed expect an increase in demand for people to fill higher skilled roles over the next 3 to 5 years. It also says that 66% of manufacturing companies expect an increase in demand for people to fill leadership and management roles over the same time frame.

So how confident are these companies of filling these roles? Not very, it seems. When the percentage of manufacturing companies who are not confident of recruiting sufficient highly skilled staff is subtracted from the percentage who are confident, the figure is -47% in 2015. In 2014 the figure was -31% and in 2013 -24%, so the trend is not encouraging.

The survey looks at various ways of addressing the skills gap issue, not just for the manufacturing industry, but the UK economy as a whole. The key areas it addresses are apprenticeships, schools and the qualification system, and the relationship between business and universities. Addressing these issues now is crucial for long term growth. However, for many manufacturing companies the skills shortage is having an immediate impact on their business and they need to find a way of filling these roles sooner rather than later.

With eight years’ recruitment experience, James Forster heads up the E&T division as Principal Consultant.  To speak to James please call 01795 416606 or email

Source: CBI/Pearson Education & Skills Survey 2015

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