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How Manufacturers can Tackle the Talent Shortage

We are continuing to see a lack of available talent in the Manufacturing Industry as many companies struggle to fill gaps within their workforce.

While advancements in Industry 4.0 technologies has boosted innovation, British manufacturers are still facing a shortage of people with the right skills, which is ultimately key in driving this industry forward.

However, SME’s can turn this labour shortage challenge into an opportunity. Advances in digital manufacturing are revolutionising the industry giving manufacturing businesses more opportunities than ever to change the way they work. 

the why

Before we tackle the ways your SME can refresh and modernise its operations to attract better talent in the long term, let’s take a look at why there is a skills gap in the first place:

  • Global macro issues like COVID-19, Brexit and global political instability have increased pressure on the sector’s overall productivity
  • Experienced workers are retiring faster than new workers entering the industry
  • A lack of apprentices as the perception of manufacturing engineering is seen to be monotonous and low-paid

What your SME can do

  1. Upskill your current workforce

Your current employees are some of the best candidates to fill future gaps in your workforce. And upskilling is your most valuable investment. It’s not only investing in your employees by keeping up with new and emerging technologies, its investing in your business.

Development and training opportunities are a great way to promote applications and keep satisfied, long-term employees. And we’re sure you know, but hiring a replacement costs a lot money!

2. Revaluate your job descriptions

The issue of recruitment is a huge one for UK manufacturing and how a job description is written can have a huge impact on who applies. And amanufacturing recruiters, we are used to reading job specifications on a daily basis!

The best thing you can do to attract more talent to the industry is to make your advertised job position, well, more attractive! Adopt more employee benefits such as pension plans, healthcare and dental, and if you haven’t done so already, keep your living wage competitive!

Taking a closer look at the language used in your job description is also crucial in attracting the right talent. Ensure you update your job specifications regularly to keep up with current developments in the market and identify the critical skills your new hire will need to have . Job requirements where a degree is essential or specific job experience where it’s not really necessary can discourage applicants who have great potential!  Candidates who have no manufacturing experience could still have plenty of related skills, even if they don’t know it!

3. Consider an Automation Solution

The labour shortage has created a reduction in productivity, with many tasks being delayed or left incomplete due to the low volume of workers in place to carry them out. In the era of Industry 4.0, investing in automation is one of the most effective tools in driving efficiency for manufacturers. This can include:

  • Fixed/hard automation – large volume, single-part production
  • Programable automation – batch production
  • Flexible automation – real time or on-demand production


Find out more about the growing use of automation in manufacturing here.

Made Smarter – apply for funded manufacturing business support

Manufacturing Technology Centre

Manufacturing Growth programme

Looking to build your manufacturing team?

If your job descriptions aren’t delivering the quality of talent your organisation wants, it might be time to enlist the help of a specialist manufacturing recruiter. Partnering with a recruitment company such as MARS Recruitment can help you retain and attract the top talent to your organisation. 

With over 10 years’ experience within the Engineering and Manufacturing recruitment industry, our team is perfectly placed to help your business grow. We offer innovative and expert Engineering and Manufacturing recruitment solutions which deliver real hiring results for your business.