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Engineers on a construction pondering job applications

Job applications more than halve in engineering amid economic uncertainty

The engineering job sector has continued to feel the impact of economic uncertainty and skills shortages with vacancies and job applications plummeting.

That’s according to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

Job applications according to Broadbean

The data – provided by the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology – revealed that permanent jobs fell in December, down 37% month-on-month.

Contract vacancies also dropped 33%.

While this is indicative of a seasonal decline in hiring, the levels were the lowest vacancy numbers reported over the 12-month period.

Although a drop in vacancies will also impact job applications, the number of people actively applying for engineering jobs saw a far great decline last month.

Permanent applications were down 55%.

The level of contract applications also dropping 57% and APSCo has warned of a growing skills gap in the sector.

APSCo’s comments on job applications

Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo, commented, “While we expect to see vacancies and, subsequently job applications, decline towards the end of the year, the falls reported in engineering are concerning.

“The UK has battled skills shortages in the sector for some time.

“While a slowdown in recruitment eases some of the pressures on talent pools, the drop in job applications – particularly in contract roles – suggests there is a tightening of the labour market.

“The first quarter of 2024 will be a telling time for the strength of engineering recruitment and we expect to see demand slowly pick up once again.”

Astute People responds to job applications surge

Kevin Over, Head of Power at Astute, added, “Seasonal application dips are to be expected as people are traditionally less likely to want to consider a career change as Christmas approaches.

“What APSCo’s data does highlight is the growing skills gap, especially in engineering.

“With many new projects depending on the talents of top engineers, the drop in applications could cause delivery timelines to stall.

“One of the conversations the team at Astute is increasingly having is around passive candidates.

“As professional recruiters, we have access to deeper talent pools, in fact, at Astute we have more than 90,000 candidates on our database.

“Being able to access passive candidates is critical, especially when applications among those actively seeking a new opportunity are dropping.

“Recruitment agencies will play a key role in enabling businesses to keep projects on track as they are able to engage with a far bigger candidate pool than simply searching job boards.”

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