SME manufacturing growth hit by skills shortage, shows survey

More than one in four of Britain's manufacturing SME's are having their potential for growth held back by a shortage of skilled workers according to a new survey.

MHA, the UK-wide group of accountancy and business advisory firms, has made the claim in its latest annual Manufacturing Survey, which sampled 400 mainly small and medium sized manufacturing and engineering businesses in the UK.

Recruitment issues

Supported by the manufacturing team at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, the survey identified concerns over the skills shortage and saw confidence about future prospects decline among 16% of those who took part in the poll this year.

Recruitment issues were a problem for the expansion plans for 28% of respondents, and 25%

said they wanted more emphasis on skills training for engineers and technicians in schools and colleges.

Valuable insight

Head of manufacturing at MHA, Chris Coopey gave his views on the surveys results.

"The survey provides a valuable insight into the challenges facing a sector with considerable growth potential but one also struggling to recruit the skilled people needed to help deliver plans for growth. While there are some hopeful signs for the future, such as the increase in STEM students at A Level and employers playing a more pro-active role in schools, signposting engineering as a ‘go to' career in secondary schools just doesn't appear to happen, so improving careers advice and skills training within the education system needs to become a major focus of debate if we are to attract the next generation into manufacturing and engineering," Coopey said. 

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