Engineering skills in demand at ‘make-or-break moment’

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drink manufacturing sector, Drink federation director, Economics, Employment, Labour economics

Sheffield Hallam University has been selected to offer the UK's first dedicated food engineering degree
Sheffield Hallam University has been selected to offer the UK's first dedicated food engineering degree
Recruiters are seeing the strongest rise in demand for permanent staff in engineering roles at a time when many employers face a “make-or-break moment”.

Food and drink manufacturers confirmed the results of the Report on Jobs​ employment survey prepared by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and financial specialist KPMG.

Terry Jones, Food and Drink Federation director of communications, said: “The findings of this latest report on the UK jobs market echo what we know about the food and drink manufacturing sector where there is significant demand for engineering skills.

“We anticipate that in future we will need more engineers in our sector to help meet growing demand for British food and drink, especially in overseas markets.”

Skilled graduates

Jones added: “We are actively working across our industry to create a steady flow of skilled graduates to meet this growing demand.”

Sheffield Hallam University was recently selected to offer the UK's first dedicated food and drink engineering degree. The first students are expected to begin their studies in September 2014. To read more about what the degree course aims to achieve, click here​.

To read more about Report on Jobs​ click here​.

Meanwhile, UK employers face a "make-or-break moment" as many will have to make job cuts if the economy fails to improve, according to a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Its survey revealed that a third of private sector employers had retained more staff than they needed to avoid losing skills.

Unemployment

While unemployment has been falling, nearly two-thirds of survey firms said they would have to shed jobs if economic growth did not improve in the next year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that unemployment fell to 2.58M in the three months to May.

The report’s author Gerwyn Davies said: “Recent falls in unemployment suggest that the labour market is on a sound footing. But a closer examination reveals that many employers are holding on to more staff than is required by the current level of demand in order to retain their skills.

"This is a make or break moment for employers. Unless growth picks up many will find that they cannot hold on to some workers any longer.”

Employers' commitment to retain skilled labour reflects the high value they place on it and the damage that could follow a programme of redundancies, he added.

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