Home Industry Skills shortage is top risk facing manufacturers, survey finds

Skills shortage is top risk facing manufacturers, survey finds

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Skills shortage

New statistics, taken from a manufacturing industry survey by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM, show that recruiting and retaining talent is a top risk for the sector.

According to the results in RSM’s UK Manufacturing Monitor, almost half of the respondents confirmed people risks (49 per cent) and skills shortages (43 per cent) are a major challenge impacting manufacturers. All areas of the business are affected, particularly attracting the right production; sales and marketing; and research and development skills.

This issue is magnified due to the ageing workforce within the sector, with the majority (75 per cent) of respondents flagging this as a key concern. The average age of manufacturing staff has increased as many organisations struggle to recruit younger workers – highlighting a long-term challenge for manufacturers.

Despite the critical need to attract younger workers with future-fit skills, nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of manufacturers didn’t think the new Apprenticeship Levy, introduced by the government in April 2017, would have an impact on apprenticeship numbers.

Commenting on the findings, Graham Bond, RSM’s head of manufacturing in the North West, said: ‘The sector is facing a perfect storm when it comes to skills. It has an ageing workforce of experienced workers who are vital to the ongoing success of each business but a difficultly attracting younger talent – highlighting a major gap in the transfer of knowledge. Unless action is taken now, the skills could effectively be lost.

‘In addition, Brexit will only increase recruitment and retention threats as any changes to freedom of movement rules following exit negotiations could reduce the supply of young, trained workers further. To tackle this issue head on, Lancashire manufacturers need to be brave and adopt new ways to recruit top talent, whilst engaging their workforce to ensure they retain them.’

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Andrew Mann
After 34 years working in numerous operational and communications disciplines for three FTSE companies (Yorkshire Electricity; Meggitt and BAE Systems), at over a dozen locations, on 24 November 2016, I became the inaugural editor of Business Lancashire. Business Lancashire is a good news, Lancashire focused, business website and daily newsletter. It is a partnership between The Samuel James Group and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, I have written hundreds of press releases, features for trade magazines, copy for websites and brochures, edited in-house magazines and newsletters, as well as presenting a radio programme on Chorley FM. This experience has given me the ideal background for editing Business Lancashire.