The manufacturing jobs market is in line for a welcome boost after it emerged that more than half of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the sector intend to recruit new staff in 2014.
According to research by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, 53% of manufacturing SMEs intend to recruit new employees. The research found that on average, SMEs involved in manufacturing expect to grow staff numbers by 4%. If this figure is applied to the sector's SME workforce of 1.5 million* this means that 60,000 new jobs could be created in manufacturing.
The recruitment intentions highlighted by the research were supported by significant investment plans. 30% of manufacturing SMEs questioned said they would spend additional money over and above existing budgets on new staff in the coming year.
Some sectors are set to benefit more than others from the anticipated jobs boom, with more than half of construction firms (59%) and 46% of food and drink SMEs citing plans to create jobs. Recruitment intention was also significant within the transport sector with 43% of firms saying they are likely to hire new staff.
The survey suggested that manufacturing SMEs also plan substantial investment in staff development with 23% of those who maintain a separate budget for training saying they expect the amount that they set aside to grow.
Overall, the research indicates that the manufacturing sector is growing increasingly optimistic about the UK's prospects with 81% SMEs saying that they expect the economy will grow over the next year. More than two thirds (71%) of manufacturing firms expect their turnover to increase.
Kevin Rimmer, Head of manufacturing with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said:
"Manufacturing SMEs are now planning for growth and their desire to increase recruitment and invest in their staff is a clear sign that confidence is building within the sector. The creation of new jobs will help boost productivity and competitiveness as well as strengthening the improving economic recovery.
"As confidence continues to grow, we remain focused on supporting manufacturing SMEs and investing in their growth ambitions."