Half of manufacturers are recruiting at levels seen before the recession, according to the latest Barclay Meade ‘Tracking UK Recruitment’ report.
The number of manufacturers operating under a recruitment freeze has fallen sharply, down 28 per cent to nine per cent in Q1. However, with the Government’s drive to improve the skills shortage by increasing the number of apprenticeships and introducing 24 new technical university colleges, it is hoped the candidate skill deficiency troubling the industry will improve. In Q1 almost 30 per cent of manufacturers reported a lack of skilled candidates as the greatest barrier to recruitment.
Barclay Meade director and manufacturing specialist Anton Roe commented: “Manufacturing has been a strong player during the recession so it isn’t surprising that the industry is lifting recruitment freezes and looking for skilled workers to cope with extra workloads.
“However, it is important that the Government maintains its promise to help boost the skills shortage, not only to address manufacturers’ current demand, but also for the future of the industry to ensure it continues growing.”
The quarterly study also found that six out of ten manufacturing firms are cautiously optimistic about business performance for this year. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics manufacturing expanded by 1.4 per cent in Q4 2010, compared to the economy as a whole which contracted by 0.5 per cent.
The findings of the tracker are supported by the most recent Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, which revealed the number of vacancies rose at their highest rate since April 2010, making March the 18th consecutive month in which there has been an increase. Furthermore, the number of temporary/contract staff billings increased at the sharpest rate since July 2007.