We explore what the future holds for Yorkshire’s manufacturing sector amidst the local, national and global challenges of COVID-19, retaining graduates and dealing with the STEM skills shortages.
Dealing with STEM skill shortages
According to a recent study by STEM Learning, the skills shortage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is costing UK businesses £1.5 billion a year in recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training costs.
There are no easy solutions to deal with the shortage however, on a local level businesses can offer sponsorship to projects focused around STEM employability to build interest from a community perspective. The public interest generated by organising forums and events can lead to meeting potential new recruits.
It also is important to keep the pressure on local MP’s and educational establishments so they understand the industry’s concerns and action is taken to address the matters.
Retaining graduates and attracting skilled labour
The focus should be on attracting larger businesses to relocate into Yorkshire with higher salaries, more benefits and better career progression as key motivators to retain talented workers.
Local businesses should consider relocating into outer lying city areas where accommodation is cheaper and business rates are lower. There would of course need to be incentives in place such as subsidised rates and transport costs for an initial period.
Another key point is that we must ensure Yorkshire cities are at the forefront of culture and encourage councils to support local concerts, festivals and leisure activities to create a vibrant culture to entice young professionals.
Also we must continue to maintain strong links with our educational institutions in particular universities as they are a gateway to drawing in skilled graduates.
The future of Yorkshire’s manufacturing sector
We now see that younger generations have a clear emphasis on maintaining a work life balance and their social/moral aspirations are often less self-centred creating a more team focused environment in the workplace. Therefore employers should consider introducing flexible working patterns such as variable hours or remote working.
In addition to this, we predict that the rise of innovative new automated marketing software will have significant impact on the sector – streamlining the sales process and ensuring that the various touch points needed to acquire new clients are systematically implemented resulting in increased productivity for businesses which decide to adopt the software.
Moving forward after COVID-19
Businesses may discover that they are no less productive when people work remotely and/or on reduced hours which will encourage more part-time roles rather than full time as well as employing fewer people.
We predict that the industrial and commercial sectors will conduct more virtual meetings saving time and money on things like travel and other expenditures. Also, some sectors such as agriculture will become more advanced and technical as new innovative scientific methods are devised.
Businesses will be more conscious of the energy costs and their own carbon footprint in exporting materials to be manufactured and re-imported. This will result in a greater emphasis on manufacturers and retailers gearing towards the re-shoring of manufacture from Europe and further afield.
This article is featured in the Huddersfield Examiner, Topic UK and Leeds Business Review Magazine.
If you would like to speak to us in more detail about the future of manufacturing in Yorkshire or anything else recruitment related, please call us on 01484 351010 or contact us here.