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Only a third of manufacturers have a workforce plan

New research from EEF shows that many companies still have a way to go to prepare for the workforce challenges on the horizon from the new technology-driven industrial revolution.

The report, Reinventing the Manufacturing Workforce, takes a critical look at the challenges manufacturers will face in future years, such as the digital revolution and skills shortages, and what they should do to prepare for them.

Despite a greater need for companies to ensure they have the right people with the right skills to navigate the many changes and challenges that lie ahead, EEF’s research shows that just 32 per cent of manufacturers have a formal workplace plan in place.

This comes despite two thirds of manufacturers expecting their workforces to increase in the next five years, primarily driven by the introduction of new products but also by the adoption of new technologies and techniques, which will require new skills.

In preparation for employing staff that can play a role in the adoption of these technologies, almost half of manufacturers are broadening their recruitment strategies to look at workers from other industries and sectors with transferable skills.

To make themselves more attractive to existing and future employees, many manufacturers are also beginning to offer more agile and flexible forms of working, such as part-time working, individualised hours, unpaid leave and job shares.

By embracing flexible working practices, management can send a signal to existing and potential employees that they are open to change and innovation, the report suggests.

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