Engineering & Manufacturing Recruitment Trends & Tips in 2021

We recently released the results of our 2021 Engineering & Manufacturing Recruitment Trends and Salary Survey, giving you a valuable insight into what to expect from a fast-changing and turbulent economic world highly influenced by the Coronavirus.

Our team gathered specialist knowledge from our 50+ consultants, used our 300+ combined years of specialist recruitment experience, as well as a comprehensive research study from a variety of sources, to bring you the most up to date recruitment trends and salary insights to help you benchmark your salaries and attract the best talent in 2021.

National & Regional Outlook

Employment across the UK is down circa half a million since the pandemic began. However, it is important for businesses not to be complacent when it comes to the availability of talent. Higher unemployment doesn’t necessarily equate to more candidates for every role, and we are still seeing shortages of high quality, relevant talent across many of our sectors. It is prudent to note, unemployment is shown to be higher in sectors such as hospitality, however professional skills and trades are still in high demand.

Industries most affected by redundancies: Hospitality, Travel, Aerospace Manufacturing

Industries with the highest demand for candidates: Logistics & Storage, Pharmaceuticals, PPE & Cleanliness Supplies, Food Services, Construction, I.T. & Digital Technology and Digital Marketing, Building Materials Supply & Manufacture.

From a local perspective, we’ve seen some positive news in employment as Yorkshire outperformed the rest of the UK with 0.8% growth from June 2019 to June 2020, the largest increase of any region. This translates to -264,000 UK workforce jobs and the addition of 25,000 jobs to the Yorkshire region.

Salaries on the whole remained steady throughout last year and into 2021, despite a slight dip during Q2 of 2020. As was anticipated, heavily-hit sectors such as Wholesale, Retail and Hospitality saw the largest drop in pay growth, going down by 0.5%. Construction took the heaviest hit, however, with a 3.9% decline, all according to the Office for National Statistics.

It’s fair to say that 2020 saw one of the biggest technological transformations ever seen, with businesses being forced to adapt to home and remote working during the pandemic. For many organisations this was a big change and one required to be delivered at pace, that they were not prepared for. In fact, this digital shift has seen 48% of employees move to remote or hybrid working (as reported by the Chartered Institute of Management).

Looking forward, the shift in home working has meant candidate priorities have altered and it is reported that key areas they will look for in a new role will be; job security, flexible working, personal wellbeing, health & safety and career progression.

Engineering & Manufacturing

It’s fair to say that 2020 was an extremely challenging one for all businesses within Yorkshire and the Midlands Engineering and Manufacturing sector. Some sectors that were hit hard during the first lockdown have bounced back really well. Others, it is clear, are still continuing to struggle. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced some big changes upon the whole industry, with changes in the way organisations operate, how and where teams work, what technology they use, and the nature of customer demand, all having had a big impact on markets across the sector.

One of the main challenges for Engineering and Manufacturing has been the knock on effect of business closures up and down the supply chain. The industries feeling the effects of this most include aerospace, medical devices and some elements of food production. Conversely, other industries have been thriving. Home improvements, automation and clean room technology, to name just a few, continue to require excellent people to cope with increased demand.

Key Trends

The results of our research in the sector has highlighted three main areas of change for businesses over the past 12 months:

  1. The continued impact and disruption of the pandemic on operations, employees and teams has shown that there is no effective alternative to good leadership and the skills that come with these leaders. This has driven a 35% increase in Director level and Department Head appointments.
  2. As organisations had to and continue to make adaptations for employee and customer safety, alongside the introduction of new regulations, laws and Government advice, demand for QHSE roles has rocketed. Successful placements grew by 75% in Q4 of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
  3. Social distancing measures and the need to refine operating costs has seen Continuous Improvement (CI) and Automation roles become more prevalent than before. Recognition of these specialist roles has not gone unrewarded, as we have seen average salaries increase by around 10%.

In the latest edition of our report, our specialist team has outlined the key trends from the diverse sectors of the industry, including Directors & Department Heads, Manufacturing Management & Supervision, Maintenance & Reliability, Engineering & Technical, Design & Projects, Quality, Safety & Environment, Procurement & Supply Chain and Machining & Fabrication. Included in each section is also a valuable table featuring the main roles and expected salaries for businesses and candidates, allowing you to benchmark your salaries and remain attractive to potential future employees.

To find out more about the state of play for Yorkshire businesses in Engineering and Manufacturing, and what that means for talent attraction throughout 2021 and beyond, click here download our FREE Recruitment Trends and Salary Survey report today.

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