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2 minute read

Young people and female staff dominate workforce concerns for UKmfg

Workforce concerns are dominated by increasing the presence of younger people and women in the workplace, according to figures released today by Subcon, the defining event in the manufacturing supply chain calendar.

Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) ranked “increasing the number of young people working in the engineering industry” as very important / Picture: Getty/iStock


When it came to how these objectives could be realised, 77 per cent of businesses polled said better outreach to young people was needed as well as increased visibility of specific areas of interest (47 per cent). For women, businesses thought better outreach and a higher profile of female engineering leaders would be the best tactics.

For the 20,000 women who left engineering to have children and wish to come back to the industry, businesses ranked flexible working patterns, a return to work programme and improved tax/childcare incentives as the top three most effective ways to facilitate the return of this talent pool.

Nadine Stech, Principal Integrated Control Design Engineer, at Blatchford Group said, “Engineering is becoming more and more a multidisciplinary effort involving specialists in areas like materials, electronics, mechanics and software with different perspectives and knowledge. A diverse workforce allows finding a better solution for an engineering problem”

And when asked what industry and Government can do to entice back the 20,000 women who left to have children, Nadine added: “There are two main areas. Firstly, refresher courses: technological knowledge gets outdated very quickly. Refresher courses in very specific, specialised areas would be beneficial. This would allow to regain confidence which is a prerequisite for a successful re-integration into the workforce. And, secondly, a good framework and enough support to allow a healthy family-work balance.”

28 per cent of respondents said that government and business need to do more together to increase the presence of women in the industry / Picture: Getty/iStock


Gordon Kirk, event director for Subcon added, “When we asked to what extent are these businesses concerned about the future availability of skilled staff, we found that the greatest worry was focussed on the next four to five years. This goes some way to explaining why the shortage of young people in the industry remains such a dominant concern of UK manufacturers and engineering based businesses”

“But what this research also shows is that those businesses also now recognise the need to improve the percentage of women in the industry and are prepared to either do more about that themselves, or in association with government. There may perhaps be one bone of contention as greater pay transparency only ranked third as a way to encourage more women into industry, but overall it is clear that the industry recognises the need to bring more women onboard.”

To find out more about Subcon 2018, visit

Subcon takes place 5th-7th June at The NEC / Picture: Subcon Show