Skills Shortage Affects Productivity

  • September 08, 2014
  • Festo Corporation
  • News

September 8, 2014 - A recent survey conducted by Festo Training and Consulting, in conjunction with Works Management, shows that skills shortages are having a direct effect on productivity within the manufacturing and engineering sector. 61% said that skills shortages have affected productivity and 25% of these say it is a frequent occurrence. This is up 17% from a similar survey carried out last year. Some respondents cited restricted growth due to recruitment slowdown, poor efficiencies and excessive downtime due to lack of fault-finding skills. One respondent said that in the last year back orders had increased from £36k to £280k, perhaps a sign of growth in the order book, but also a sign that manufacturers are struggling to keep up with growth in the economy. The skills shortage within this sector shows little sign of abating. 82% of companies are suffering a skills shortage, up 7% on last year, and 86% say this is likely to stay the same or get worse. The shortage is most prevalent for experienced engineers (61%), skilled shop floor workers (57%) and multi-skilled engineers (40%). The biggest rise is in a shortfall of experienced engineers, which has increased by 44% since last year. The lack of skilled staff has also had a knock-on effect on morale, with 62% stating that morale is the biggest issue in the workplace, followed by employee engagement (53%). Perhaps those most affected by skills shortages and low morale are middle managers, who are having to roll their sleeves up to support under-staffed areas and who are also spending half of their time with disengaged employees. It is perhaps unsurprising then that the main stress on the workforce appears to be due to inadequate resources (25%) and too many demands on their time (24%). 25% are looking to leave their job this year and although on the face of it, this number seems relatively small, the loss of 25% of any organisation's workforce can have a considerable impact on what is already an over-stretched sector. The reasons most cited for a change in job is for new opportunities, promotion or increased remuneration, although 15% said that they would leave because they don't like their boss. There is some good news for those in manufacturing and engineering. 42% of respondents said that they generally have a good to excellent work-life balance, indicating that although our engineers work hard, many still manage to find time to switch off to enjoy their home-life and leisure pursuits. Key findings from the survey:

  • 82% of companies surveyed are suffering a skills shortage, up 7% on last year
  • 86% say this is likely to stay the same of get worse
  • 61% experience some reduced profitability as a result of skills shortages, up 44% from last year
  • Maintaining morale is the biggest issue in the workplace (62%)
  • 43% of companies have a formal management training programme
  • 29% of managers learn on the job
  • 34% have experienced stress due to workplace conflict
  • 25% say that their biggest stress is due to inadequate resources
  • 25% are looking to leave their job in the next year and 15% say they would leave because they don't like their boss.

The People and Productivity survey took into account responses from 102 people within the engineering and manufacturing sector, the majority of which were at senior manager level and above. 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. It is the proud recipient of a 1* Accreditation in the Sunday Times Best Companies Accreditation Scheme; Company of the Year in the Food Processing Awards; Midlands Medium Employer of the Year in the National Training Awards, and Investors in People Gold Accreditation.

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