Skills in demand: Manufacturing and operations


This quarter will be positive for the manufacturing and operations market, according to Hays’ quarterly report for July-September 2017.

Despite the continuing demise of the automotive sector, SMEs are embracing diversification, according to Hays. However, in the food industry, technological investment and regulation and governance continues to create vacancy activity and particular skill shortages, particularly for production and operational managers.

Therefore, organisations are widening their search nationally, and the movement of talent between states is a trend that will continue in this quarter. In order to retain staff, employers have also been utilising referral awards and bonuses.

Jobseekers have been advised to adopt an agile approach when job-hunting, needing to adapt to different industries.

The report has identified the following “hotspots of demand” for occupations in the manufacturing and operations industry:

Production and operational managers within the food industry are in acute demand as this remains a busy area. Employers want candidates with a mix of technical and soft people management skills and a focus on improving processes.

Quality assurance, food technologists and compliance skills are also needed in the food industry thanks to increased investment in technology, strong regulation and governance.

Continuous improvement and process engineers are very highly sought after within heavy industry and also general engineering companies, as saving time and money on various projects has been a real focus over the last financial year.

Change managers are in demand too in response to the drive towards leaner methodologies and diversification in maintenance. In most demand are mid-management candidates who can effectively manage business transformation.

Skilled fitters, sheet metal workers, boilermakers and welders are in ongoing demand.

There is also an increasing requirement for highly experienced Maintenance Electricians comfortable with fault-finding production lines both mechanically and electrically. There is a shortage however of these candidates due to the lack of people who completed an apprenticeship in the last five to 10 years.

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