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UK manufacturing jobs increase to record highs

The latest IHS Markit / CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 60.9 in April, up from 58.9 in March, the highest figure on record since July 1994’s 61.0 mark. And with manufacturing production increasing for the 11th month in succession, this 27-year high rate of growth is yet further indication that the UK economy is bouncing back with a vengeance and creating new jobs in the process. But it’s not just creating manufacturing work. This optimism is being mirrored across the entire supply chain, including warehousing.

Rise in demand of UK manufacturing jobs

Thanks to a combination of restrictions easing across the world, the vaccine rollout, the re-opening of certain parts of the economy and the start of a return to ‘normal’, manufacturing confidence and output rose for the fourth successive month in April. Job creation was also hot on the heels of March’s seven year high. Exports and orders both rose, fuelled mainly by demand from the UK market as well as Europe, the US, China and Asia. And with two thirds of organisations surveyed in the IHS / CIPS report saying that they expect things to be even better 12 months from now, the prospects for the UK manufacturing and warehousing sectors are looking pretty positive.

Speaking to The Manufacturer, Rob Dobson, Director of IHS Markit, the global research firm that carried out the survey, said, “Signs of spring have appeared in the UK manufacturing sector, with the PMI hitting its highest level in a decade. Growth of output, order books and employment all gathered momentum and optimism about the year ahead improved further. The domestic market remained the prime source of new orders, as companies reported that the vaccine roll-out and clients’ preparations for the loosening of lockdown restrictions underpinned the expansion. Many expect this process to be supportive during the year ahead as well, raising business optimism and jobs growth to their highest levels for seven years.”

With jobs growth providing a much-needed boost to the economy, this will mean new opportunities for those in the entire manufacturing supply chain, including warehousing. As Duncan Brock, Group Director of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) reminded us, it was the rate of increase that surprised many, “As businesses raced to meet the need for increased capacity, the lost jobs of 2020 returned in greater numbers and employment creation continued in earnest at similar levels to last month and at a pace rarely surpassed in the survey history.”

The impact on warehouse recruitment

So, what does this mean for warehouse vacancies? Clearly, companies and hiring managers will be under pressure to hire more staff and ensure that they can find the right people to fill roles quickly. But for already busy warehouse managers, sourcing new recruits – whether it’s for warehouse operatives, drivers to transport goods or logistics and admin staff to run operations – takes up valuable time. And as more jobs are created, the competition for workers increases, putting pressure on salaries and benefits packages as managers look to lure in new recruits.

There are still supply chain issues to contend with as well, which is to be expected as the impact of the pandemic and Brexit continues to be felt. Inflation is also looming on the horizon, but this should settle as supply is able to meet the rise in demand. “Manufacturers have generally passed on these costs to customers, as highlighted by a survey-record rise in selling prices, but it is hoped that this inflationary backdrop will subside once supply and demand come back into line as Covid-related logistic delays ease,” adds Dobson.

A positive outlook

Clearly, the latest record April figures relating to manufacturing confidence and jobs leaves plenty of cause for optimism for the rest of 2021 and beyond. The 321-month high in the PMI is an achievement in itself and a huge boost for manufacturing and warehousing businesses alike. However, as we’ve pointed out, to keep up with the frenetic pace of activity, organisations must ensure that they have the skilled people in place to help them meet the increases in demand.

At Staffing Match, our experienced team of recruiters are all specialists in their sectors and can help organisations find that talent for their temporary or permanent roles by sourcing the skills they need, quickly and cost efficiently. We can also provide onsite recruitment solutions, that include selection, screening, training, absence and performance management as well as payroll services.

We focus predominantly on three core divisions:

Industrial – assisting manufacturing, logistics and food clients across the UK and Germany to hire specialist drivers, warehouse and logistics staff, IT, customer service and admin experts

Aviation – from air cargo, inflight services and facilities support, we supply talent to some of the largest companies running the UK’s major airports

Driving – providing specialist recruitment solutions for the temporary and permanent placement of HGV and non-HGV drivers for the country’s top logistics operations as well as offering Driver CPC training

Why not contact the team to find out more?

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