Where Have All the Candidates Gone

Appointments understand how difficult it is now to recruit industrial staff in the Staffordshire and Cheshire areas. So where are the industrial candidates and how can you attract them to your business?

The Industrial Staff Shortage – What’s Happening?

At the beginning of September (2021), the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) warned that UK businesses should anticipate two years of labour shortages and if you are a business in Staffordshire or Cheshire that is currently recruiting for industrial roles such as manufacturing or warehouse, you probably have first-hand experience of how difficult it is to find candidates are the moment. In this blog, we are going to look at some of the reasons there is a shortage of industrial staff and what you can do to increase your chances of filling your roles.

Where are the industrial staff?


The UK has experienced a large decline in the workforce. This has been attributed to many factors, but one of the most significant is Brexit. On average, pre-Brexit, approximately 11% of all UK industrial workers are made up of migrant workers.
Last year alone, approximately 200,000 EU citizens left the UK following Brexit so it’s no surprise this has had an impact when recruiting industrial staff and there have been calls to Government to relax post-Brexit immigration rules.


t’s not news that the pandemic had a negative impact on the majority of industries globally however manufacturing was an industry hit particularly hard as not only were skill shortages exacerbated but supply chain issues were also caused by the great “pingdemic”.

Social distancing rules mean there were reduced staffing levels and furlough gave people an opportunity to really think about what they want from their lives and careers with some taking the time to retrain and move into new industries.

It’s not all bad news though, between May and July 2021, SME manufacturing productivity grew at the fastest pace on record, as did the total volume of new orders.

Industry image

Unfortunately, industrial roles such as manufacturing, warehousing, and driving are no longer sought-after roles. The long-time image of mundane, repetitive, production lines are not viewed as interesting or innovative positions and the misconception that industrial staff are “un-skilled” means people are overlooking the opportunities available in the industrial sector.
Another common misconception is that industrial staff receive low pay and poor benefits, despite the 2.7 million workers employed in this sector receive an average salary of £34,538 – 13% higher than the average UK income.

How to overcome the industrial staff shortage

Stay up to date with immigration rules

Changes to immigration laws are making it easier to attract migrant workers. The most recent changes were announced in July 2021 in the UK Innovation Strategy and may help SMEs in the industrial sector.

Focus on training and development

As we mentioned above, the industrial sector is commonly seen as fewer desirable roles, despite having higher-than-average salaries and some of the best career paths available. So, focus on the training and development that you offer your current employees (as your current employees are your best advocates) and use the training and development opportunities you offer as part of your marketing when advertising new roles.

Consider a recruitment partner

Having a local recruitment partner that is able to access a deep pool of industrial candidates, such as Appointments, can save you an enormous amount of time when looking to fill your roles. Collectively, we have over 50+ years of recruitment experience throughout Staffordshire and Cheshire and our Industrial Specialist, Talia, has a great relationship with her candidates and clients built on her ability to react quickly to clients needs. So, feel free to give us a call to discuss your requirements.

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