Manufacturing job vacancies expected to increase, says EEF report

Last week the EEF released their Reinventing the Manufacturing Workforce Report, outlining the challenges facing the production sector and how manufacturers need to prepare. Here are our key findings from the report and what they mean for job seekers.

Skills shortages are driving workforce planning

Despite a growing need to find and hire the right people with the right skills to navigate and overcome challenges facing the production sector, the EEF found that only 32% of UK manufacturers have a workforce plan in place.

However, for those that do have a defined strategy in place, 86% were driven by a need to fill skills gaps, both through recruiting new staff and developing their existing workforce. While shrinking candidate pools and skills gaps can be concerning news for employers, they create a promising opportunity for candidates.

Many manufacturers are actively looking to take on staff who can bring new skills and expertise into the business to complement their current teams. But employers are not just focusing on new starters. The report also found that many are investing in providing training to upskill their staff, creating an opportunity for workers to gain valuable skills and experience through their roles in these forward thinking companies.

Job vacancies expected to increase

According to the report, two-thirds of UK manufacturers expect their workforce to increase within the next five years, both for production and non-production roles. In fact, 24% of respondents cited an expected staff increase of between 6% and 10%.

This predicted rise in job creation is driven primarily by manufacturers’ plans to introduce new products to their lines. However, it is also due, in part, to companies taking advantage of the adoption of new technologies and techniques - highlighting a promising future for the UK production sector throughout the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

And with this increased demand for workers, along with the continued limited candidate pool, many businesses (48%) are revising their current recruitment strategies and are looking to different industries to find staff.

Manufacturers are increasingly willing, and actively looking, to hire candidates who have worked in other sectors and have transferable skills that can be applied to their roles. This is great news for individuals looking for a career change, with entering the sector promising to be more accessible in the near future.

XCL are experts at helping skilled workers find their ideal jobs with busy, forward thinking manufacturing companies. We’ll work with you closely to find the roles that best align with your skills, experience and career goals.

To find out about our current manufacturing job vacancies, send a copy of your CV to, or apply for one of our vacancies here.