UK Engineering: The ongoing war for talent

In the UK, the field of engineering accounts for 18% of the nation’s workforce with a staggering 5.5 million people working within the sector. Recognising the importance of this industry, the UK Government has identified its growth as crucial in achieving the nation’s economic and environmental goals. However, we are currently facing a daunting challenge – a substantial surplus of vacancies, with over 170,000 unfilled positions as of mid-2023, which is costing the UK economy approximately £1.5 billion per year.

This gap in talent has been partly created by the perfect storm of a Covid/Brexit hangover, placing tremendous strain on the existing workforce, and leading to an increasingly competitive market for candidates. Additionally, the soaring cost of living exacerbates the situation, making it difficult for businesses that cannot compete at the highest level to attract the skilled workers who are indispensable to an organisations success.

Advancements in robotics, AI, and the rapid transition from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0 promise alternative solutions to our staffing problems. Furthermore, the noticeable increase of 7.1% in apprenticeships from 2021/22 to 2022/23 indicates a positive trend within the sector, albeit a slow-burning one.

In the interim, the burning question is; how can we attract top talent? Or rather, how can we effectively bridge the staffing gaps?

First and foremost, businesses should look inward. Organisations that can provide internal progression pathways, possess a well-defined employee value proposition, and adopt a proactive approach towards their workforce will undoubtedly experience lower turnover rates compared to those that neglect these crucial aspects.

When considering external recruitment (whether driven by growth or internal changes), organisations must adopt a proactive stance to secure the finest talent available. It is highly unlikely that vacancies for niche-skilled, high-demand roles will be filled through traditional advertising methods. Typically, the most desirable candidates or top performers are happy with their current employers and are unlikely to browse through job boards or similar platforms.

At Delve Search, we understand these challenges and approach them with expertise. As a specialist at sourcing talent in the Engineering sector, we work closely with our clients on a consultative basis, offering a proactive approach to the market. Each engagement is treated as a unique project, allowing us to gain a comprehensive understanding of our clients’ specific requirements through our “Beyond the Paper” methodology.

We not only understand your recruitment needs but also pay meticulous attention to cultural nuances, ensuring the perfect match between an organisation and top talent. 

Get in touch with Andrew Ellis to discover how we can advise and support you with your hiring requirements. 

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)1606 212020

Mobile: +44 (0)7377 955 045

LinkedIn: Andrew Ellis