Lack of skilled labour needs to be addressed

26 January 2016

A recent survey undertaken by Festo Training and Consulting shows that skills shortages within the UK manufacturing and engineering sector have increased over the past three years with the majority of respondents believing that a more committed support programme would help alleviate these skills shortages.

Commenting on the survey findings, Gary Wyles, managing director of Festo Ltd, said: "A lot of Government and public support for the skills shortage is focussed 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 one-third of business leaders feel they are ill prepared with little or no formal training. Nearly one-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.

The report can be downloaded from:

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