Manufacturers call for support to help alleviate lack of skilled labour | Automation.com

Manufacturers call for support to help alleviate lack of skilled labour

January 25, 2016 - A recent survey undertaken by Festo Training and Consulting and Works Management shows that skills shortages within the UK manufacturing and engineering sector have increased over the past three years and the majority of respondents believe that a more committed support programme would help alleviate these skills shortages.

Gary Wyles, Managing Director of Festo Ltd, says, "A lot of Government and public support for the skills shortage is focused on apprentices and training the next generation of talent. This is much needed, but equally, employers need help at management and leadership level.

"To handle the skills shortage as it is now, manufacturers need to undergo continuous change so we can adapt quickly. What we cannot do as a sector is stand still. At times we need to take enormous risks such as investing in new technology to improve productivity and keep ahead of world competition. Further support programmes to help alleviate lack of skills and train our people to deliver and cope with change are definitely required."

Over half of the respondents to the People and Productivity Survey 2015 said their organisations undergo change frequently or constantly. Yet, while the majority feel they are well equipped to effectively manage change projects, over a third of business leaders feel they are ill prepared with little or no formal training. Nearly a quarter say they frequently experience downtime and reduced profitability as a result of the skills shortage.

The survey shows that communication is an essential element to any change project. Over three quarters say that their senior leadership team communicates well or very well, while nearly a quarter say that communication is poor. They also report that over a third of their workforce are not motivated to embrace change.

Managers are the lynchpin when driving and delivering a successful change projects. The research shows that, in general, managers set a good example. However, 19% say that their managers rarely or never lead by example. For managers to effectively communicate change with employees on the organisation's behalf, they need to adapt their management and communication style.

It is difficult for manufacturers to instigate change, as due to the current climate, the initial response for 64% of employees is one of fear and surprise. Also a large proportion of those surveyed feel employees disengage when the senior management team fail to answer the ‘What's in it for me?' question adequately, offering no personal reward.

Key statistics - People and Productivity Survey 2015

A survey of 95 respondents in middle to senior management roles in manufacturing and engineering carried out by Festo Training and Consulting and Work Management.

84% of businesses suffer from a skills shortage in 2015, compared to 75% in 2013

66% of respondents said that experienced engineers are prone to skills shortages

81% believe government support and public commitment would help alleviate skills shortages

23% say they frequently experience downtime and reduced profitability due to skills shortages

55% of respondents undergo change frequently or constantly

30% of leaders feel they are ill equipped to effectively manage change

23% say their senior leadership team communicates poorly

25% of employees are resistant to change

60% say fear of the unknown is the main reason for resistance to change

42% say lack of personal reward is the main reason for resistance to change

23% of employees say the are given a compelling reason for change

19% say managers rarely or never lead by example

23% say managers rarely or never adapt their management and communication style

36% of managers say their people are not motivated to embrace change projects


About Festo Training and Consulting

Festo Training & Consulting specialises in the development of people, organisation and technology. Offering a range of open courses, structured development programmes and tailor-made, customer-specific projects, the business has over 40 years' experience when it comes to training clients and helping them achieve their maximum productivity. The organisation has its roots in manufacturing and engineering. Festo was established in Germany in the 1920s and today operates in 176 countries. Today, Festo trains over 42,000 delegates worldwide every year.

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