Engineering jobs will start to dry up over the next three months as overall manufacturing pay awards continue to fall, according to a survey of employers released this week by employment agency Manpower.
The survey shows a fall in confidence in the engineering sector from an index level of 21 last year to 13 this year.
Most other manufacturing sectors, except clothing and textiles, have seen a similar drop in confidence. The biggest drop in confidence was in south Wales, which has already seen thousands of manufacturing jobs go over the past year.
Recruitment consultant Jonathan Lee said: `We’re seeing a mixed market of buoyancy and depression. Overall, there are job losses because of shopfloor redundancies.’
However, job prospects for professional engineers have improved since the start of the year, according to Lee.
Product engineers are in particular demand because companies are having to replace their product lines more quickly.
In the automotive sector, meanwhile, engineering jobs are tending to move from original equipment manufacturers to suppliers.
Despite the prospect of fewer jobs, low finished-goods prices and falling profits have held back pay awards, the CBI said.
Its Pay Data Bank shows manufacturing settlements averaging 2.8% in April, down from 2.9% in March and 3.5% a year ago.
Downward pressure on prices was the main factor keeping pay settlements down, said the CBI.
In contrast, the biggest pressure on the service sector is the need to recruit and retain staff. This is keeping service settlements ahead of those for manufacturing, at 3.4%.
Kate Barker, CBI chief economic adviser, said: `It is no surprise to see manufacturing settlements falling, given the number of job losses that the sector has suffered.’
The CBI figures are in line with the latest Engineering Employers’ Federation pay survey, which showed an average rise of 2.7% over three months to May.