Skills shortage in engineering industry amidst COVID-19

3rd March 2021
Posted By : Lanna Deamer
Skills shortage in engineering industry amidst COVID-19

New research into the extent of the skills shortage has found that the manufacturing and engineering industry is the worst affected with 85% of businesses currently feeling the strain from a lack of skilled workers. The report, by Search Consultancy, also added that on average, businesses in the industry are 18% understaffed with the average lead time to hire a suitable candidate standing at just below four months.

The full list, which ranks sectors from most to least affected by the skills shortage, is:

  • Engineering and manufacturing - 85%
  • Financial services – 84%
  • Healthcare – 84%
  • Construction – 83%
  • Call & contact centre – 75%
  • Industrial – 77%
  • Accountancy & finance  - 74%
  • Scientific – 74%
  • Social work – 74%
  • HR – 73%
  • Logistics/ procurement/supply chain – 72%
  • Business support – 71%
  • Hospitality – 68%
  • Transportation – 68%
  • Marketing - 66%
  • Legal – 58%
  • Sales – 52%

The research also looks into the causes of the skills shortage in the engineering and manufacturing industry and the impact it is having on businesses. Of those surveyed, 40% say that a simple lack of qualified candidates is the main contributing factor. A further third of managers cite a lack of willing apprentices as a major issue and 29% list an aging workforce as a cause for concern.

As a result of the skills shortage in their industries, 40% of managers say staff have to work longer hours with one in five facing larger operational costs. One third of managers surveyed admit to having a disengaged workforce and a further 31% are unable to fulfil work commitments to clients and customers.

Rich Westhead, Managing Director of Engineering and Manufacturing at Search Consultancy, said: “The food & drink sector is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and the demand for staff currently exceeds supply. The significant growth and continual focus on new products in this sector also means there is an increase in food science and new product developments roles which are amongst the most difficult to recruit. Engineering roles still remain as the key skill shortage within the industry.

“Working closely with businesses, we are shifting the focus to be on the employees of a organisation, not just to offer a competitive salary but also on the soft benefits that candidates are increasingly interested ln. Whether this is a solid work/life balance or the potential to pursue ongoing training whilst on the job, it is important we show people that a career in engineering and manufacturing is engaging, innovative and provides candidates with limitless potential to grow.”

To support organisations impacted by the skills shortage, Search Consultancy has curated advice from business leaders within its “Mind the Skills Gap” report.

To download the report and find our more information about Search Consultancy, click here.


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