With the advance of technology comes the inevitable suggestion that manual staff might not be required as much as they once were. A machine or computer program in most manufacturing businesses may be able to do the work of one man – or more than one. This, in turn, has led some business professionals to invest in machinery rather than human resources.
It may be that small businesses simply cannot afford to employ a large team of staff, and prefer to put their investments elsewhere, such as in premises or equipment that can still achieve the end result.
With a smaller team comes the possibility of more pressure and workload on one person, however. If you’ve ever worked for a small business, you’ll know that sometimes most of the jobs you’re asked to perform aren’t in your job description, because a small team simply has to pool together and get everything done as one, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Yet pressure takes its toll, and businesses shouldn’t underestimate the power of team motivation, team growth and the opportunity for progression for the people who work there. Coaching and mentoring professionals exist for a reason, and it’s especially important within a small business or team to keep the energy elated.
So Why is this Happening?
In some cases, manufacturing opportunities are evaded altogether. In developing economies, some workers are going straight to the end product and services part of the job, rather than the process of creating.
Furthermore, in a rising economy, people with more money tend to invest their money more in areas of market services, such as telecommunications or business services, rather than manufacturing. With these types of products comes a higher growth and output rate in faster times than traditional manufacturing jobs.
Additionally, as discussed above, business leaders may choose to invest their money more on premises or machinery rather than the employment of more staff.
The MD of SWMAS has stated:
“We are seeing a 10-year low in plans to recruit new staff”.
Another reason may be due to a low expectation of profit or sales, which raises a new concern altogether for businesses if their targets are not projected to be met.
Of course, if business happens to be booming, it may be the case that business owners simply aren’t finding the talent they need. It is a business runner’s prerogative to choose who they need and want to employ in their business, and with demands increasing and the economy changing, it may be that traditionally educators workers and labourers may not be able to meet the demands of an ever-changing world which requires targets to be met a whole lot quicker.
If business owners fail to find the staff they require, this would naturally lead them to alternatives such as pooling their money into machinery which can assist with the job and meet a growing rate of orders or sales. Professionals such as gro.team work to help with growing and mentoring your team – and employees will be grateful for any opportunity of growth.
Should There be Concern?
Any decline of jobs in a certain sector will always be met with anxiety and fear, especially if that is the area you are skilled in as a worker. A decrease in manufacturing jobs might imply slower economic growth, and this doesn’t sound like something to be pleased about.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be an entirely negative situation: this article from the International Monetary Fund explores why, with the correct procedures in place, the worries can be handled accordingly.
What About the Statistics?
A helpful way to keep up to date with patterns and trends for the manufacturing sector is to take a look at the Manufacturing Barometer published by SWMAS. This concentrates on employment links within SME manufacturing businesses and gives a general overview of what’s happening.
This report has found that only 30% of employers are planning to increase their staff in the coming months. It has hit one of the lowest levels it’s been for the past several years, which is why concerns have been raised over the future of manufacturing employment.
In regard to businesses choosing to invest more in machinery and business premises, it has been shown that 44% of manufacturers have recently decided to do this – an increase since the last business quarter.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t go down again, however; these situations may fluctuate, and a whole lot may change in the coming months.
Why Brexit Doesn’t Help
Of course, this is a time where there is a lot of uncertainty for everyone – not just businesses – in regards to the future of the country, and that is because of Brexit.
It is logical that SME business employers may not want to recruit more people when there is so much indecision in the air; it is hard to predict the future of a business’s sales and targets when the public does not yet have an answer or concrete deal on Brexit.
It may also be difficult for a labourer to want to look for, and/or accept a manufacturing job when they, in turn, will not know the security of their position until the outcome of the Brexit deal.
It’s no surprise when this is a summary of one of the UK’s MPs:
“The Conservative MP Ben Bradley is in the House of Commons. He voted to remain, then became a Brexiteer, then voted against the deal, then voted for the deal, then said he’s struggled to back the deal again but now says he will back the deal” (Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy on MP Ben Bradley).
Employment in the manufacturing sector has decreased in recent months, but it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Until Brexit is finalised and businesses truly know that they can plan efficiently, it’s hard to put a cement claim on any trend which is occurring in manufacturing recruitment at the moment.
A changing face of manufacturing employment may mean a growth in recruitment in other sectors.