Manufacturers still hiring despite difficulties

Russell TuckNearly half of Midlands manufacturing and engineering firms expect to take on extra staff this year, despite a slowdown in growth, increased employment costs and a continuing skills shortage.

But they warn that the combined factors of sluggish manufacturing growth, downturns in international demand, additional cost burdens of the apprentice levy and National Living Wage, skills shortages and the difficulty in bringing in skilled people from overseas could create a perfect storm which would reverse post-recession manufacturing growth. And the threat of Brexit adds further uncertainty to the mix.

The findings are revealed in the 2016 Manufacturing Salary Survey by leading Midlands-based engineering recruitment specialist Consilium Recruit.  Surveying a cross-section of manufacturing and engineering employers across the industrial heartland of the Midlands, the survey found that 48 per cent expected their headcount numbers to rise this year. In the automotive sector this grew to 52 per cent. Most of the remainder expected their headcount to remain the same.

Automotive, aerospace and pharmaceutical companies in particular are expecting to recruit this year, especially in product and process engineering, design and quality functions.

Consilium Recruit director Russell Tuck said there was some optimism in the manufacturing sector but there were clouds on the horizon, particularly the collapse in the global oil price, uncertainty over interest rates and a sharp downturn in China which could trigger a global slump.

“As a further concern, additional burdens on business such as the apprentice levy and the National Living Wage are expected to increase overall staffing costs for business which may in turn hamper economic growth further during 2016,” he said.

He added, “With severe skills shortages across manufacturing and engineering at an all time high, the Government’s visa policies will continue to prevent growing firms from attracting much-needed global talent into the UK workplace.”

Consilium Recruit – celebrating its 15th anniversary this year – was formed in 2001 by a group of engineering and manufacturing professionals. The company has placed industry talent into a variety of leading UK and European businesses, with clients including Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Ben Ainslie Racing and Bosch.

In 2014 the 40-employee firm which has offices in Stratford-upon-Avon and Stourport, was voted the UK’s Best Recruitment Company to Work for by the Institute of Recruitment Professionals, and also recognised nationally as a top 10 company by the prestigious Great Places to Work Institute.


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