UK manufacturing may be slowly growing, but challenges remain and manufacturers are looking at many avenues for their missing talent.
The Chancellor’s spring Budget heralded the march of the makers. Some months on, the UK’s makers are encountering tougher times. Yet parts of the sector are recruiting but largely for specific skillsets rather than at the volumes of Germany and emerging markets. Despite this global competition for talent, the makers are increasingly manufacturing their own solutions to their resourcing problems.
“There is now more of a South-East/rest of Britain divide rather than a simple North/South one,” says Andy Hogarth, chief executive at Staffline Group. “It is tough in an awful lot of the country where historically maybe they haven’t found it that hard.”
Hogarth adds that manufacturers are being burdened with red tape, not helped by October’s implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations and a lack of funding from banks due to wider concerns around the Eurozone and its debt crisis.
But while the Eurozone suffers, manufacturing within emerging markets is surging ahead, says David Leyshon, managing director of recruiter CBSbutler. “On a domestic front, I would say the sector remains challenging and price sensitive, with aggressive competition from overseas, particularly from the Far East. However, those specialist component manufacturers with large export order books appear to be robust.
"What we’re seeing in Germany, which probably has the most buoyant manufacturing sector across Europe, is that there is significant demand for engineering at blue collar and white collar at all levels; that spans automotive through to mechanical equipment manufacturing and process equipment.”
But the UK’s manufacturing sector has grown this year, with August the only real blip. September’s Markit/CIPS PMI rose from a revised 49.4 in August to 51.1 Leyshon puts this blip down to seasonal factors such as the summer holiday period in the UK and the season of Ramadan in the Middle East.
Indeed, Jaguar Land Rover last month announced plans to create 750 new roles at a new factory near Wolverhampton.
A spokesperson told Recruiter: “Our decision to locate a new engine plant in the West Midlands was taken after a detailed strategic review. Jaguar and Land Rover models are produced in the UK and a central UK location offers the most efficient business solution in terms of proximity to our vehicle assembly and engineering facilities, a highly skilled workforce and our supply chain.”
And for drinks firm Coca-Cola demand is in specialist areas such as engineering, continuous improvement, strategy and analysis particularly for graduates with two to three years’ experience.
Ultimately, uncertainty around world economies could lead to a march of in-house recruiters within manufacturing.
A Coca-Cola spokesperson told Recruiter: “Manufacturing companies in the UK are feeling pressure on margins and in some instances are adopting in-house recruitment solutions. It is possible for companies to build extremely successful strategic relationships with recruitment companies but this takes time and effort from both parties.
“The recruitment market in the UK is extremely competitive, and this is leading to a shift from a relationship-driven partnership to a transactional one. Directly employing recruiters has a significant [positive] impact on candidate engagement and is an increasing trend in all industries, including manufacturing.”
Source: Recruiter: http://www.recruiter.co.uk/analysis/manufacturing/1011367.article