Food companies were advised to carry out organisational skills audits, as it could be easy to overlook the skill-sets held by existing employees, according to Dan Plimmer, leading consultant for fast-moving consumer goods at Jonathan Lee Recruitment.
“Carrying out an audit can highlight home-grown specialists who, with training, could future-proof your business,” said Plimmer.
“With the right planning and a pro-development culture, employees could seize the opportunity to move into fulfilling previously non-existent jobs, while allowing the business to move forward.”
Manufacturers should consider transferable skills when recruiting, Plimmer suggested.
“Employers usually want a candidate with sector experience – by its nature the engineering industry has always taken this specialist approach,” he explained.
“But there is definitely a crossover between sectors that employers could use to their advantage more frequently, particularly within advanced mechatronics, digital programming and ‘big data’ analysis.
“This approach has already had success in other industries, such as automotive, which has thrived over the past few decades.”
Plimmer also encouraged companies to consider people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including blue-chip and corporate, when hunting for suitable candidates.
“This will lend itself to a diverse range of skills, mindsets, approaches and fresh ideas,” he said.
‘Profound impact on an organisation’s strategy’
“Indeed, hiring just one person with an alternative way of tackling an issue can potentially have a profound impact on an organisation’s strategy, systems, processes or culture – transforming a business for the better.”
When finding a suitable candidate, Plimmer believed it was crucial for businesses to make a decision on them quickly – especially when they were particularly promising.
“If a client hasn’t moved within 36 hours, then it’s likely that the candidate will have been snapped up elsewhere,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the number of manufacturers citing labour shortages as a limitation to investment plans was at its highest since October 2013, according to the latest quarterly Industrial Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry.
However, numbers employed rose strongly for the three months to October, and hiring intentions for the last quarter of 2017 remained above the long-term average.