Despite an ongoing skills shortage impacting growth prospects for many firms, the demand for engineering skills remains strong, according to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), the trade association for the professional recruitment sector.
The data, provided by Broadbean Technology, showed that engineering job vacancies neared the 15,000 mark by the end of March 2023, an increase of 6% year-on-year, with figures higher than at any point during 2022.
Although the research paints an optimistic picture and highlights confidence among engineering firms, an ageing workforce along with a wider lack of available STEM talent, particularly women, could be preventing the industry from further growth. This is highlighted by the fact that, despite the growth in the number of roles, the number of people applying for engineering jobs fell, which will be a major cause for concern for employers that are already struggling to source specialist engineering talent.
In other findings from the data, salaries also showed minimal growth, although firms may consider boosting pay in the coming months if they continue to struggle to source the skills they need to maintain expansion plans.
Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo comments, “The shortage of engineering staff is continuing to impact businesses across the sector and the rise in vacancies noted for the first quarter of this year alongside a sustained fall in applications is cause for concern. The skills shortages in engineering won’t be solvable overnight and while a longer-term talent solution is necessary, there is a more pressing need for immediate solutions. This includes improving the UK’s access to the international flexible labour market to fill resourcing gaps in a manageable and financially viable way.”