More than 80% of manufacturers are having problems finding the right people to fill professional and managerial jobs, according to the Recruitment Confidence Index, published last week.
The quarterly survey of companies across all sectors of the economy shows that a recovery in engineering output this year is having a direct effect on companies’ recruitment plans, but that the labour market for engineers is tightening.
Last autumn, around 43% of companies predicted they would be hiring new staff over the next few months. This month, that figure has risen to 50%, and the trend is set to grow.
At the same time around one in five firms is now expecting to see an increase in unfilled vacancies, and an increase in staff turnover as talented engineers are poached by rivals.
While the survey’s results show that, for most people, pay deals have failed to reflect the growing skills shortages, upward pressure on salaries is expected to become evident later in the year. Growing numbers of survey respondents are now expecting to see pay deals break through the 4% barrier.
The general trend appears to be that the more senior the position, the more severe the skills shortages.
But Professor Shaun Tyson, from Cranfield School of Management — one of the report’s sponsors — said skills shortages are making themselves felt throughout the job market.
‘The problems are now moving down to include more junior staff,’ he said. ‘Expectations for higher rewards are building up for later this year,’ he added.
The latest survey shows that across the manufacturing sector, skills shortages are growing at a time when demand is starting to pick up — especially from within continental Europe.
‘Organisations are becoming increasingly concerned about their inability to recruit the right people at the right time,’ said Stuart Blake, head of UK search and selection at global recruitment consultancy TMP Worldwide.
There are signs that the skills shortage is putting a dampener on manufacturing output. The CBI’s most recent industrial trends survey shows the effect of skills shortages on output to be at its highest level since 1990.