Hiring new talent remains one of the biggest challenges for UK manufacturers

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Hiring young talent remains a challenge for UK manufacturers. Image: Getty, GCShutter
Hiring young talent remains a challenge for UK manufacturers. Image: Getty, GCShutter

Related tags Training & recruitment

Hiring new talent remains one of the biggest challenges facing UK manufacturers, according to new research, as skill shortages look set to worsen over the next five years.

More than a third of UK manufacturers (34%) said hiring new talent was one of their biggest challenges, according to a survey conducted by software developer Visual Components.

The struggle to acquire new workers was made worse by the fact that business expected 25% of their workforces to leave over the next five years, with more than half (53%) unable to replace the lost knowledge when skilled professionals leave or retire.

Building relationship with educators

Visual Components also found that more than half of manufacturers had not yet built relationships with educational institutions to build a pipeline of new talent into the business.

While 81% of respondents believed that their current solutions allowed their workers to be at the centre of the production process, only 46% were training them in the use of new technologies.

However, prospective talent could likely be deterred by the fact that up to a third (31%) of factory machinery is legacy equipment, with the younger generation more accustomed to digital solutions.

This isn’t to say that current employees shy away from technological; advancements in the factory – 78% of respondents said there’s no hesitancy among their workers to make use of new platforms and that upskilling is also the highest priority for 46% of UK manufacturers.

Skills shortages

“The skills shortage has made it critical that manufacturers upskill current employees with supporting technologies to ensure that they sit at the centre of the production process in the age of Industry 5.0,”​ said Mikko Urho, Visual Components chief executive.

“Deployment of robots, alongside digital solutions such as OLP and simulation software, can train employees in state-of-the-art solutions and also encourage new talent to join the sector.”

Meanwhile, food firms are looking to novel ways to engage future talent. Software development firm Enginuity partnered with vertical farming group Farm Urban to create a video game to teach key stage 3 pupils aged 11 to 14 food production skills.

Launched as part of Digital Manufacturing Week, the vertical farming-themed Skills Miner game​ promotes sustainable food production and engineering careers.

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