Facing the skills gap in engineering

If you are an engineer or work within the engineering, life science or pharmaceutical industries you are probably very familiar with the term skills gap.  But you may wonder what are the latest updates on the skills gap, what are organisations doing to combat it, what can they do to close the gap and how does this affect me? Liam O’Connell, Director of CK Group and Chairman of REC Life Sciences, has written a short article that answers these questions.

A recent report published by the Social Market Foundation and EDF highlights the fact that 640,000 vacancies are predicted within the STEM sector over the next 6 years. This mirrors reports published in 2016 by the Wakeham Review of STEM Degree Provision and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries which both highlight the current and future need to focus on increasing the number of STEM professionals within the life science and pharmaceutical industries.

This potential scarcity within the science sector could be further exacerbated by the potential impact of free movement of labour within the EU. All economic indicators are that the UK economy will continue to grow, with great emphasis on the STEM industries.

As such it is vital that companies in these sectors undertake strategic manpower planning in order to ensure that they have the staff and skills to meet demand.

So what can organisations do to ensure the meet the demand for highly skilled staff over the next ten years?

Long-term Talent Management Planning: – Plan for the futures in relation to manpower planning rather than reacting to immediate needs.

  • Liaise with schools to encourage GCSE and A Level students to pursue careers in science.
  • Liaise and offer placements for universities in the STEM sector (This is a great method of finding futures employees)
  • Investigate how apprenticeships in the STEM sector will work for you.
  • Undertake ongoing reviews of your benefits packages to ensure you stay up to date with market changes. Salaries within the Stem sector are increasing as demand for staff increases.
  • Investigate non-financial rewards and career opportunities ensuring you retain your best staff.
  • Develop your internal staff with further training to suit your long-term needs.
  • Become politically engaged to ensure we can influence government policy in relation to education, movement of highly skilled staff and investment in the Stem Sector.
  • Work closely with your recruitment partners to ensure strategic planning in staff attraction.

The demand for staff within the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries is predicted to increase greatly over the next 10 years and it is important that the potential skill shortages are addressed now. Organisations need to address this from school level through to graduate /PhD level while at the same time improving and changing internal policies and structures to ensure that they retain their best staff. It is vital that they work with their recruitment partners, whether these are recruitment consultancies or MSPs, to maintain up to date information on trends within the employment market and how to plan to meet future recruitment requirements.

If you wish to discuss any of these issues contact Liam O Connell: loconnell@ckagroup.co.uk

Or if you would like to read more about our Drug Discovery and Development Careers spotlight click here

Posted in: Industry News, News
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