The manufacturing industry is a key export sector for the UK. The industry is responsible for £127 billion in exports each year, £183 billion in outputs and employs 2.7 million people. Manufacturing is also a major driver of innovation and accounts for a large proportion of R&D spending in the country.


Sigma Recruitment Manufacturing Stats Infographic

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Manufacturing is A Critical Sector for the UK Economy

So manufacturing is a critical sector of the economy, and with the rise of industry 4.0, it is more important than ever to have a strong manufacturing base. Manufacturing companies are always looking for new ways to recruit qualified workers, and this can be a challenge given the current labour market conditions. The industry is currently experiencing high job vacancies as shown in the infographic. The number of job vacancies jumped from 49,000 in 2020 to 69,000 in 2021. The latest figures for 2022 are trending similarly to 2021.

One of the reasons for this is that there is an increasing demand for skilled workers. However, the manufacturing sector is struggling to compete with the finance and IT industries for good-quality candidates and talent. Particularly, for candidates with qualified digital skills.


Digitalisation and Automation are Two Key Growth Areas in UK Manufacturing

As Manufacturing moves towards digitalisation and automation, companies are looking for technical engineers and data experts to ensure smooth transitions. Candidates with these skills will be in high demand and can expect competitive job offers and salaries.

Digital skills are becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing industry, as more and more processes are becoming automated. These skills can include programming, data analysis and engineering. By recruiting workers with these skills, companies can ensure that they are well-equipped to take advantage of the latest technologies.

However, due to the fierce competition from other sectors, the manufacturing industry is facing a shortage of digital and technical skills. So, this is making it difficult to fill job vacancies.


What Can Manufacturing Companies Do to Attract Digital Talent?

In order to stay competitive, manufacturers must invest in training current employees and adapting their recruitment processes to prioritise these essential skills. The industry needs to embrace and adapt to these technological advancements, and companies should prioritise recruiting talented individuals who can help drive this change.


Traditional Roles Are Still in Demand

On the other hand, traditional Manufacturing roles such as machinists and production workers are also still in high demand, with many companies offering on-the-job training for candidates without prior experience.


Attractive Salaries and Recruitment Packages Can Help Attract Talent

Manufacturing also offers competitive salaries, with the average salary being higher than many other industries in the UK. As highlighted in the infographic, Manufacturing pays on average 12% higher than the UK average for salaries. Graduates can also expect a higher than average salary as their first job from University.

Combining this with attractive recruitment packages and flexible working opportunities can help attract talented individuals to the industry.

In addition, the manufacturing industry is a key player in the push towards a greener economy. Many companies are investing heavily in sustainable and eco-friendly practices, offering yet another unique opportunity for potential employees to be part of this important movement.

Overall, the manufacturing industry offers exciting opportunities for candidates with digital and technical skills as well as traditional roles. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers must focus on recruiting and retaining talented individuals who can drive the industry forward in the digital age. The manufacturing industry is becoming more technical, and companies should consider investing in training and adapting their recruitment processes to attract top talent and fill job vacancies.


Manufacturers Must Retain Top Talent and Employees

With a tight labour market and increasing pressure to retain talent, Manufacturing companies are offering more benefits and perks to attract and retain top quality employees. This includes things like flexible working arrangements, ongoing training and development opportunities, and attractive retirement packages.

By investing in their employees, manufacturing companies can ensure they have a skilled and motivated workforce to drive the industry forward. Companies who invest in recruiting and retaining talented individuals will be well-equipped to succeed in this ever-changing and technologically advanced industry.

Overall, the Manufacturing industry presents a strong job market for both experienced professionals and those looking to start a career in Manufacturing. Candidates can take advantage of the high demand for their skills by securing fulfilling roles with competitive pay and benefits.


Each Manufacturing Sub-Sector Will Need Their Own Unique Set of Skills

The manufacturing industry is made up of a variety of different sub-sectors, each with their own unique set of skills needs. In order to fill the current job vacancies, it will be important for companies to focus on recruiting candidates with the appropriate skills.


Automotive Sector

One of the main sub-sectors in manufacturing is automotive. The automotive industry is currently facing a shortage of workers with skilled tradespeople such as welders, electricians and mechanics. This is due to the increasing popularity of electric and autonomous vehicles. As these technologies continue to evolve, the need for skilled workers will only become more important.

In order to stay competitive, the automotive industry must find ways to recruit and train new workers with the appropriate skills. This includes things like offering on-the-job training and apprenticeships, as well as collaborating with vocational schools and other training providers.


Aerospace Sector

The aerospace sector is another sub-sector that is facing a skills shortage. In particular, there is a lack of qualified engineers and technicians. This is because the sector is rapidly expanding, with many new companies entering the market. To meet the demand for skilled workers, aerospace companies are turning to overseas recruitment. However, this can be difficult and expensive, so many companies are also looking to train current employees in new skillsets.


Medical Device Sector

The medical device sector is also facing a skills shortage. In particular, there is a lack of qualified engineers and designers. This is because medical devices are becoming increasingly complex, and there is a growing demand for innovative new products. To meet this demand, medical device companies are turning to overseas recruitment and partnerships with vocational schools.  They are also offering training and development opportunities to current employees to upskill them in the latest technologies.


The Manufacturing Industry Needs to Address Their Skilled Worker Shortage

In summary, the manufacturing industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers in key areas such as digital and technical skills, as well as traditional tradespeople. Overall, companies must focus on recruiting and training employees with the necessary skills. This includes offering on-the-job training, collaborating with education and training providers, and looking at talent pools from overseas. The future of the industry lies in embracing and adapting to new technologies, and talented individuals who can drive this change will be highly sought after.

But the UK manufacturing sector should embrace that the industry offers numerous opportunities for skilled workers and is an exciting area to consider for potential job seekers.


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