Survey reveals skills shortages hold back South West England manufacturers

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12th October 2015 13:13 - Industrial

A recent survey has revealed that more than one in three small and medium sized manufacturers in the South West of England are held back Survey reveals skills shortages hold back South West England manufacturersby skills shortages.

The annual survey revealed that recruitment problems act as a barrier to 35 per cent of manufacturer’s expansion plans.

The research findings also revealed that recruitment issues are having an impact on positivity amongst manufacturers, with many of the respondents saying that skills shortages make them less confident about their future prospects.

According to the survey, 50 per cent of manufacturing companies in South West England expanded last year and 39 per cent of them achieved a growth of 10 per cent or more. Despite this, optimism has fallen by 23 per cent since the same time last year; however, positivity levels still remain high at 65 per cent.

Approximately 60 per cent of businesses in the South West expect to hire more staff. This figure is 10 per cent higher than the national level. As well as this, 50 per cent plan to recruit apprentices or trainees in the next 12 months, although, this is slightly lower than the national average of 52 per cent.

Of the 400 manufacturers in the survey, 25 per cent said that the Government should do more to try and tackle the skills gap and place a firmer emphasis on skills training in schools and colleges, which in turn will help develop the next generations of technicians and engineers.

Additional regional findings revealed that exporting still remains paramount for manufacturers in the South West, with a quarter of companies exporting to the Eurozone. This figure is 4 per cent the national average, however.

Further to this, approximately 58 per cent of manufacturers spend between 1 per cent and 6 per cent of their annual turnover on research and development. As well, 54 per cent have received Government funding since 2010.

This year, 90 per cent of the manufacturers in the survey said that they anticipate that their production expenses will increase for the fourth consecutive year, predominantly through higher wages.

80 per cent of the businesses said that they do not feel able to pass on price increases to customers, meaning that productivity gains are becoming increasingly important.

Manufacturers said that they still face problems with red tape, with 42 per cent acknowledging a rise.

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