From seeing the commencing patterns of the new hiring year, the UK engineering industry continues to face significant challenges in hiring and staffing in 2023. The demand for highly skilled engineers in all the key sectors of Manufacturing and Engineering remains high, and companies are still struggling to find the right talent to fill critical positions. In this article I wanted to give my thoughts on what are some of the key challenges faced by the UK engineering industry in the area of hiring and staffing, as well as potential solutions to these challenges.
1 – Skills gap: One of the main challenges faced by the UK engineering industry is a significant skills gap. Many companies are finding that there are simply not enough qualified candidates to fill the very high level of open positions, and this is leading to longer recruitment times and increased costs. The skills gap is particularly pronounced in areas such as digital engineering, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, where there is a high demand for expertise.
2 – Retention: Another key challenge faced is the retention of highly skilled engineers. With a competitive job market and the attraction of higher salaries and better opportunities abroad, many engineers are leaving the UK for greener pastures. This has led to a constant cycle of recruitment and training, which can be costly for companies and disruptive for their teams.
3 – Ageing workforce: The UK is facing a significant challenge in terms of workforce aging in this space. Many experienced engineers are reaching retirement age, and there are not enough younger engineers to replace them. This is leading to a significant loss of expertise and knowledge, which could have serious implications for the future of the industry without the
4 – Lack of diversity: Another challenge faced by the UK engineering industry is the lack of diversity in the workforce. The industry continues to be heavily dominated by men, and there is a lack of representation of women, ethnic minorities, and other marginalized groups across the board. This not only limits the pool of available talent, but also leads to a lack of diversity of thought and ideas which could inherently have a negative impact on the innovation and competitiveness of the UK on the global stage.
Solutions?: In my view in order to overcome these challenges, the UK engineering industry needs to adopt a multi-pronged approach. This could include initiatives to increase the diversity of the workforce, to improve the retention of highly skilled engineers, and to develop new strategies to attract and retain talent with a genuine long-term focus on work life balance and employment flexibility.
Additionally, companies need to invest in training and development programs to ensure that they have the necessary skills and expertise to succeed in the future and proper investment into STEM activity and placing a genuine focus on making this career a genuine and desirable alternative from junior school level onwards is a must.
In conclusion, the UK engineering industry continues to face significant challenges in hiring and staffing, however by taking a proactive approach and investing in initiatives to improve diversity, attraction, retention, and ongoing skills development, companies can overcome these challenges and secure a bright future for the whole UK manufacturing and engineering sectors.
If you would like to discuss any of the challenges you are facing as a business in terms of the attraction and retention of staff, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we would be happy to give any insight and support available from an Envisage perspective.