Over the years the UK Manufacturing Industry has fallen behind its global counterparts with regards to productivity within the workplace. One of the biggest reasons, for this fall in productivity is due to the skills shortage within the industry. UK based manufacturing businesses need to take action and start to consider upskilling their existing workforce, in order to mitigate the risk of a further decline in productivity within the industry.
Within this article, we will take a deeper look into the current issues faced by the UK manufacturing industry.
The UK’s Aging Workforce
The aging population in the UK has had a knock-on effect on the UK Labour Market.
In 2015 the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) and The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC), conducted a study. This study found that within the manufacturing industry, 33.8% of workers were over the age of 50, this translates to 1,041,542 workers.
The labour market has become increasingly reliant on their older workers. UK Manufacturing businesses run the risk of developing large skills gaps and losing vital knowledge when this proportion of their workforce inevitably retire over the next 20 years.
Managing the Risk with Workforce Planning
By introducing a workforce plan, businesses can look to reduce the impact of skills gaps when older workers leave the business. This plan could include; attracting new talent, line manager capability and training & development.
Building a pipeline can ensure that businesses are able to recruit from a diverse labour pool. Offering work experience opportunities via building relationships with local schools and colleges, as well as, offering apprenticeships are effective in generating new talent.
The capability of line managers can have a huge impact on the workforce and how they develop. They play an integral role in managing the workforce day-to-day. Managers should be able to coach workers and develop their knowledge with on the job training. Along with identifying opportunities to undertake formal training for their staff.
Health and wellbeing expectations of workers should be managed and met by Line Managers, to reduce long term absence as absenteeism can have a huge impact on an organisation. Particularly for the older workforce, where manual jobs can become increasingly more difficult with age, a structured health and wellbeing strategy in place can have a positive impact on workers’ attendance.
Performance Management and Training & Development are not just tick box exercises. Having a stringent performance management process in place will ensure workers are achieving or even exceeding their objectives, in line with the objectives of the business.
Workers of all ages can benefit from ongoing training and development, so this should not be limited to a particular demographic.
Identifying and initiating Training and Development opportunities for employees is a way to ensure that any potential skills gaps are plugged before they appear.
Continuous on the job training and coaching as well as formal training will provide workers with the skills and knowledge required to cover absences and keep productivity at it’s highest when people leave the business.
The Benefits of Investing in Automation
We live in an ever changing world, where technology and robotics are becoming more and more present in manufacturing businesses the world over. Young manufacturing workers have a significant advantage when it comes to these new technologies, simply because they have grown up in a world obsessed with going digital and automation.
Part of the reason why the UK is lower in terms of productivity compared to the manufacturing industry in other countries, is because of the fact that there are less businesses in the UK, who have invested in automated technology.
By looking to make investments into new technology and robotics, the UK Manufacturing industry would stand to benefit greatly in terms of productivity. These investments can also generate jobs for younger workers, giving mechanical and electrical engineering apprenticeship opportunities.
As experienced spring manufacturers, the team here at European Springs & Pressings always take the time to keep a close eye on everything that is going on in the manufacturing industry. We understand just how important it is to ensure we are allowing our valued members of staff to continually upskill, in order to achieve their personal goals, whilst also ensuring the longevity of the industry as a whole.