UK manufacturing is facing its biggest worker shortage in 30 years – Epicor comment

Mark Hughes, regional vice president UK and Ireland at Epicor, comments on the news that Britain’s manufacturers are facing the biggest shortage of skilled workers since 1989 amid record levels of UK employment and falling numbers of EU27 nationals coming to the country to work since the Brexit vote: 

“Today’s news that UK manufacturing is facing its biggest worker shortage in 30 years, serves as a stark reminder of the challenges manufacturers are facing as a result of Brexit. The current skills shortage simply cannot be ignored—tougher immigration rules and a drop in the pound, has meant that working in the UK will become less attractive and accessible for foreign nationals to work in the UK. Consequently, manufacturers are now recruiting from a reduced talent pool and need to think cleverly about how they operate if they are to attract new generations of talent into the industry. 

“This skills shortage will only grow and become problematic to the whole industry unless we manage to recruit new homegrown talent into the sector. Manufacturing isn’t exactly perceived as the sexiest industry out there, but it is vital that we change these perceptions quickly. Embracing the use of robotics on the production line, or incorporating AI to bring new products to market quickly, can only help get industrial businesses noticed by young people and garner more interest in the employment opportunities they offer. 

“Our research has shown that people are willing to embrace—and are excited—to work with robots. 41 percent of young people want the opportunity to work with the latest innovations, whilst 33 percent of millennials want to be at the cutting edge of new developments. With businesses in manufacturing, lumber, distribution, and retail perceived as old-fashioned, emerging technologies like robotics and AI can help manufacturing get noticed by young people and encourage more talent into the market. Ultimately, to remain relevant and to operate as leaders in any field technology now needs to be at the heart of all businesses to attract new talent and grow market share.”

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