Manufacturers increase skills to boost international trade

Posted on 31 Oct 2011 by The Manufacturer

Manufacturers are rethinking their current recruitment plans and necessary skills sets for staff in a bid to keep up with a growing exports trend, according to new research from HSBC.

Almost one in five manufacturers in the UK is making plans to hire new staff and provide more training for their current employees to bridge skills gaps between domestically driven and internationally competitive businesses.

Jacques-Emmanuel Blanchet, head of commercial banking UK at HSBC said: “With our research showing almost nine in 10 UK manufacturing and engineering businesses see additional expansion opportunities in international trade, it is important that they have the right skills on board.

Mr Blanchet went on to identify the skills attracting most attention for development. “Businesses have told us that over the next year they expect having financial management expertise and cultural understanding as crucial to develop their international trade. At HSBC, we are keen to support businesses with both skills and we encourage them to speak to us to see how we can help.”

International trade is seen as a key opportunity for UK manufacturers and engineers in the hope they can take advantage of a broader customer base and buoyant international markets, while offering a wider range of products.

Aside from HSBC other companies too have identified shifting skills expectations as UK manufacturers of ever smaller stature move into international markets. Comtec Translations, a provider of translation and interpretation services for business, has identified a diminishing trend for the acceptance of English as the first language of business in certain developing countries. As a consequence Comtec says it has seen the demand for interpretation and language training for staff rise in the last year.

HSBC’s new research showed similarities in the skills businesses feel they need but lack for international trade, stressing the need for recruitment and training to guarantee staff have the skills that will aid trading overseas.

HSBC have launched two new initiatives to support engineering and manufacturing businesses that are creating new jobs. The Employer Business Loan will mean employers receive a 1% discount on the loan interest rate they pay for each person they have hired in the last six months, up to a maximum of 3%.

The International Business Overdraft offers a reduced interest rate, for each overseas country a business is trading with, up to a maximum of 3% for the first 12 months.

Mr Blanchet concluded: “As engineering and manufacturing businesses look to grow and create jobs, we’re keen to offer them the additional help and support that they may need. The Employer Business Loan and International Business Overdraft rewards those who are preparing for economic growth and future success and fits well with HSBC’s strategy of helping UK businesses throughout the economic cycle.”