The Manufacturing & Engineering industry in Scotland is facing a problematic skills shortage. For about a decade, as a nation, we fell out of love with Apprenticeship schemes and encouraged potential industry workers to pursue an academic route instead. This now means that the labour market is filled with graduates with no real hands-on experience or skilled workers who are getting ready to retire.
So how should the industry attempt to ameliorate this 15 to 20 year gap where there is going to be a real lack of candidates who are able to take up technical and skilled positions? This problem is further compounded when you take into account current candidate shortages across almost every sub-sector of the market.
The market is proving rather fickle. Companies fall in to two distinct camps. They either insist upon candidates having degrees or time-served experience. There is no happy medium. This is a regressive attitude to take when approaching employment which will seriously damage an industry already lacking in available talent.
So what is the alternative? Companies could create their own alternative mentorship or training programmes to replace traditional apprenticeships. Yes, these would initially cost more money and time investment up front but, at the end of the programme, you would have a fully qualified candidate who is competent in your company’s preferred way of doing the job.
Companies could also look at re-assessing their pay and benefits packages or offering delayed retirement incentives.
But, what about those “time served” candidates already in roles? There are many benefits to hiring candidates who are qualified through experience. They have already built up a portfolio of expertise and proved their dedication to the industry. Because of their hands-on experience, they won’t necessarily need extra training when they start a new job and they are far less likely to slow down your productivity. They are used to keeping up with demand and performing tasks on time.
Other sectors of Scottish business, such as Technology and Finance Practice have already cottoned on to the fact that utilising the skills set or transferable skills of existing employees (who don’t have degrees) is the perfect solution to plug the gaps in a candidate short market.
It’s important that candidates who have proven to be reliable and willing to improve their skills set are given an equal opportunity when it comes to promotion within the industry. Don’t dismiss a candidate at the CV stage – have a meeting or a video call with them and see if they would be a good overall fit for your company.
If the Scottish Manufacturing & Engineering sector is to overcome any staffing shortages and continue to thrive in future years, it’s crucial that the existing pool of capable workers is utilised to its greatest capacity.
If you have recruiting needs within the FMCG industry, I’d love to be able to help. I have a talent pool of highly skilled candidates who are ready for their next opportunity. Click here
to get in touch with me.