Manufacturing – The Current Talent Landscape

Most businesses are struggling in the current climate to recruit fresh talent alongside retaining their current talent, however the manufacturing sector is feeling the pressure on an unprecedented scale. This is from the shop floor to the most technical engineering jobs. Most companies are trying to utilise skills to get to Industry 4.0 standards with 5.0 already upon us.

Industry experts agree that the ability to attract, retain and reskill workers is a must for optimal business success. The manufacturing industry turnover dipped by 5.6% in 2020 as workers felt hesitant to move due to uncertainties brought on by Covid. To some degree this has carried over into 2021 with some staff reluctant to change jobs because they fear less security due to Covid, Brexit or other issues.

This reticence, combined with business demand to fill roles, has created a perfect storm. Demand is outstripping the available workforce which is across the board in engineering and manufacturing.

A perfect storm

There is a shortage of available candidates across temporary and permanent roles with demand for temporary workers outstripping experienced employees. The demand is ranging across production, warehousing, forklift driving, quality planning, maintenance, electrical and controls engineers and beyond.

The current demand means that businesses are looking for skilled workers that can hit the ground running and pick up specific processes as quickly as possible.

Candidates with knowledge, skills and abilities are usually the most productive employees:

“According to McKinsey research, so-called high performers are 400% more productive than average performers. The study also revealed that the gap increases with a job’s complexity. High performers in information – and interactive-intensive roles like managers, engineers, and data analysts – are up to eight times more productive.”


In addition to hard skills (qualifications, training, and certificates) businesses are looking for candidates with positive attitudes. This includes reliability, commitment, and good communication skills. Understanding of Continuous Improvement (CI), LEAN techniques and similar principles and the ability and want to apply them is highly desired.

Due to the changes over the last 18 months, companies are looking for workers who are flexible, adaptable and willing to do what they can to support the business during any difficult or unexpected times.

What the manufacturing sector can do to find top talent

There are several factors that businesses need to address to ensure they are in the best position to hire top talent at the right price point, in a timely and effective manner.

Businesses need to factor in what they want, what they need and to be decisive about their hires. The current market is so competitive that understanding requirements, needs, budgets and job specifications is imperative to succeed.

Any disruptions to the process could mean missing on out on the right hire. And bad hires could damage brand reputation. Knowing what you want and to act decisively is the answer to successful recruitment in the current climate.

The talent market is continuously changing with multiple companies competing for the same pool of viable candidates. Companies that are the most successful are the ones that know what they want, set internal timescales, move quickly and don’t allow for procrastination. Once suitable candidates have been identified, companies must push ahead with interviews and ultimately the final offer.

The future of manufacturing & engineering

Demand for permanent and temporary job roles have increased at the quickest rate in 20+ years. Conversely, candidate availability dropped at the quickest rate on record* because of this unprecedented rise. A decline in the availability of candidates to fill new roles has been intense. This is the most severe deterioration the job market has seen for 24 years.

Moving forward through the next 6 to 12 months there is an expectation that the “buyer’s marketplace” will continue in the manufacturing sector. Over the next year the competition for talent will likely continue to grow.


How can greenbean help

greenbean are perfectly positioned to react to current trends and changes in the market as and when they present themselves.

We work with a wide variety of clients across the manufacturing sector. By constantly assessing the market, we provide clients with insights and advice on the state of the current talent landscape. This ensures they are in the best position to meet headcount demand.

One of the core values of our business is Agility. We operate an agile model that enables us to scale up or down our services to meet clients’ changing needs. We provide a consultative service to find the right talent within agreed timescales and budgets.

Find out how greenbean’s Engineering, Manufacturing & Technical team can help your business attract the best skilled talent. Contact us here.

*for the 4th month running as of June 2021. Read more.