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Engineering skills shortages grow as job applications fall

Engineering skills shortages have continued to grow, with applications tumbling in April.

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

The data – provided by Veritone Hire – showed a continued downward trend in permanent jobs in for the last three months, with April reporting a 3% fall month-on-month.

Contract jobs were also down 11% between March and April 2024.

While this is indicative of wider economic trends, the statistics paint a more worrying picture for job applications.

In April, the number of people applying for permanent engineering jobs dropped by almost 40% month-on-month, with an annual fall of 23% also noted. Contract applications also declined, down 44% between March and April 2024.

Ann Swain, Global CEO at APSCo commented, “While we may be seeing a fluctuation in vacancies in engineering which is to be expected in the current economic climate, it is the falling applications that are of more concern.

“The sector is persistently reporting a decline in people moving roles which exceeds any decline in jobs.

“It’s clear that the skills gap is growing and with an uptick in salaries in Q1 failing to boost applications, all signs are pointing to a significant talent shortage in the months ahead.

“Addressing this dearth of resources isn’t going to happen overnight. However, as APSCo outlined in its Manifesto, there are a number of crucial actions that Government policymakers need to prioritise for the benefit of sectors like engineering.

“That includes growing talent through access to more flexible modular training under the Apprenticeship Levy and creating more routes to employment for international workers.”

Astute’s view: Engineering skills shortages

Gemma Harfield, Recruitment Partner in Astute’s Nuclear recruitment team, added, “These findings align closely with what we’re seeing in the nuclear sector, where the demand for engineers remains exceptionally high.

“Despite the fluctuations in vacancies, the persistent drop in applications only adds to businesses’ direct hire struggles.

“At Astute, our People Plus recruitment solution has been instrumental in helping businesses navigate this challenge.

“Companies are increasingly turning to retained recruitment campaigns, which have proven effective in securing top engineering talent in a sector that is notoriously difficult for direct hiring methodology.

“This strategic approach is crucial for addressing the growing skills shortage and ensuring the continuous development and maintenance of our nuclear infrastructure.”

If you are struggling with your direct hire methodology and would like a no-obligation conversation about all of Astute’s recruitment solutions, please complete the form below and one of the team will be in contact.

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