Manufacturers are facing a worse skills shortage than any other economic sector, according to a report out this week. Professionally qualified engineers are among staff in shortest supply, along with accountants and IT specialists.
The Reed Skills Shortage Index, a survey of 555 organisations, shows that 86% of the manufacturers polled claimed to be finding shortages of suitable applicants, compared with 64% six months ago. Across the economy as a whole, three quarters of firms are facing skills shortages, up from 68% at the start of the year.
‘This is a substantial rise in skills shortages,’ said James Reed, chief executive of Reed Personnel Services. Employers were inevitably starting to offer higher salaries to get the right people in, raising the threat of wage inflation across the board, he said.
Across the country, the biggest shortage of skills was reported in East Anglia, where 90% of respondents had trouble recruiting, followed by the South West (83%), the Home Counties (81%) the Midlands and the Thames Valley (80%).
‘There is definitely a shortage of candidates coming forward,’ said Carl Daniels, recruitment consultant at Newman Technical Recruitment’s Birmingham office.
‘And signs are that some companies are willing to pay more, especially for permanent positions,’ he said.
* The British Chambers of Commerce organisation has created a taskforce of business leaders to examine skills shortages.
Llew Aviss, Taskforce chairman and personnel director at Siemens Microelectronics, said that education and training were not working: ‘The system is failing to meet the needs of British business.’