Manufacturing firms are having to compete with top City banks and leading innovation companies to hire workers with digital and technical skills, according to a new report.
Make UK said its study showed the digitalisation of production processes has accelerated in recent months, leaving companies “desperate” to recruit the best qualified technical engineers and data experts.
A survey of 180 manufacturers found that three in five have plans to recruit engineering technicians and production and process engineers, while one in four were looking to hire data analysts.
Half of those surveyed said they cannot find suitably skilled staff locally.
Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: “To address the issue of labour shortages which is now at critical point, Government must ensure that the revised Shortage Occupation List is in place as soon as possible to plug the huge skills gap in data and digital technicians which are simply not available to employers from the domestic labour force.
“Government should also look to urgently create an Employer Training Fund, funded by a portion of unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds, to support the upskilling and retraining of existing employees in critical skills as well as providing support to bring through the next generation of talent through routes such as T Levels for manufacturers to train up straight from school.
“This would also be the time to introduce apprenticeship incentives for areas of skills shortages, where targeted incentive payments are made available for apprenticeship courses in those skills areas where supply is most scarce.”