Engineering firms are increasingly looking to hire after a challenging start to the year, but are struggling to source the skills they need, according to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), the trade association for the professional recruitment sector.
The data, provided by Broadbean Technology revealed that engineering vacancy numbers grew by 7% in May when compared to April, the second largest increase seen so far this year.
However, the number of applications has fallen significantly, down to the lowest level recorded over the past 12 months.
In addition, month-on-month applications fell by almost 30% in May and by 24% when compared to the same period in 2022.
This will be an alarming signal to UK engineering employers who are already battling significant skills shortages.
The research also revealed that salaries for engineering specialists have increased by 5% year-on-year, as employers look to boost pay in order to attract more talent to work for them.
Ann Swain, Global CEO at APSCo, said, “Our most recent data reinforces the challenging state of the engineering job market, with a persistent decline in applications.
“While there has been a noticeable increase in average salaries this year, employers are resorting to higher pay rates to attract talent amidst the rising cost of living.
“However, it is important to recognise that the problem of skill shortages in engineering cannot be resolved solely by offering higher compensation.
“To meet this demand, the UK requires convenient and viable access to international talent, including individuals in the flexible labour market.
“We are actively collaborating with the government to address the deficiency of suitable visa pathways for the much-needed talent that our country requires.”
Daniel Don, Head of Nuclear at Astute Technical Recruitment, said, “At Astute, we’ve seen sustained high demand for engineers across the nuclear sector, especially for people with electrical, mechanical and process experience.
“With technological advancements, companies are being more particular and are perhaps not delving as deep into transferrable skills that could make a candidate the right fit.
“On a contractor side, many of the roles within the nuclear sector are falling inside IR35, which makes enticing contractors from others sectors that tend fall outside IR35 challenging.
“Furthermore, delays with security clearance, which protract the onboarding process, is leading to candidates considering other opportunities where there are less delays.
“Experienced technical recruiters will play a pivotal role in alleviating the engineering talent challenges the market is currently facing.
“With demand for engineers not slowing, and application data showing a downward trajectory, it is critical hiring companies partner with specialist recruitment partners who are experienced in emphasising the employee value proposition in order to successfully attract and place the best candidates.”
Click here to view all of the current jobs the Astute team is recruiting.