The engineering and manufacturing market continues to go from strength to strength as we head into the second half of 2015. Manufacturing businesses are looking to increase headcount and raise the bar, hiring the best candidates to ensure continued growth.  Increased output has meant many companies are physically growing with factory expansions and large capex projects on the horizon.  

Hot topic: succession planning

Business are looking to address the succession planning challenge at all levels – they are looking for maintenance engineers who have the potential to become engineering managers, production managers who have the potential to be the next operations directors, and operations managers who they can see progressing to general manager.  Good candidates who fit this mould do not stay on the market long – around half of the candidates placed in 2015 have been registered with us for less than 8 weeks.  

A candidate driven market

It’s a candidate driven market place.  It’s not uncommon for good candidates to have multiple job opportunities running at once – they’re then in a position to choose which suits them best. It’s not just the salary that attracts them.  Increasingly the daily commute, work/life balance, level of autonomy, potential for career progression and additional benefits (such as pension and bonus) play a large part in the decision making process.
Regardless of industry sector, there are current key skills shortages in maintenance, quality and operations. Increased output has exposed weaknesses in the PPM schedules, increased the need to scrutinise and improve upon quality and exposed businesses which do not have a long term operational strategy to improve and grow.
Three tips for employers looking to recruit in a candidate-driven market
  1. Sell your company – not just in the short term – talk to the candidate about your long term vision for the company and where they would potentially fit in.
  2. Be decisive and move quickly – in such a competitive market, the best candidates aren’t available for long.  Ensure the interview process is swift and that a decision is made in a timely fashion.
  3. Research what you’re offering - how competitive is the salary you’re offering? Our salary comparison tool is a quick way to work out what the average salary is for a role and how what you’re offering compares. 

Placement trends

By regions
The number of placements made increased in the second quarter of this year. There was a small increase in London and a significant uplift in Yorkshire and the North East.

Placements per region

By sectors
The industrial sector is by far the dominant sector although recent activity levels have seen a significant upswing in FMCG.
Placements per sector
By salary level
The junior role placements have been very steady quarter on quarter. There has been a gain in the number of mid level roles and a steady flow of senior roles.
Placements per salary level

Candidate behaviour

Counter offers (buy back) are more common than ever – particular at the £50k+ level.  For candidates who accept the counter offer it rarely works out in the long term and a large proportion are looking again within six months.  We advise candidates when we meet them that there is likely to be a counter offer upon their resignation and that this is a knee jerk reaction.  If they were valued by their current business, it shouldn’t take a resignation letter to prompt discussions around pay or career development.

Looking ahead

The second half of 2015 is likely to see continued growth and continued competition for good candidates. Businesses are going to need to work just as hard to attract top talent and retain their best people.  
Our specialist teams across the country can help with your engineering recruitment needs, please feel free to contact Ruth Hancock, Operating Director at Michael Page Engineering & Manufacturing for a confidential discussion.
T: +44 114 2636023