The Impact of the Recession on the UK’s Manufacturing Recruitment Activity

Industry news

When the UK economy takes a downturn, it can be a really scary time for businesses and employees alike. 

There are so many unknown factors involved with a recession that, upon the first sign of financial distress, leaders are forced to leap into action and begin preparing for the future.

The Effects of the Recession on UK Manufacturing Recruitment Activity

At this point in time (following a few years of industry uncertainty), it’s highly likely that you’ve already begun mitigating risk by…

reshuffling employee responsibilities

restructuring teams

pausing your recruitment activity

Depending on your forecast for the year ahead, you might have even said goodbye to a few staff members.

It’s a really difficult position to be in.

Luckily, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Over the next few months, it might be time to break free of your self-imposed restrictions and start hiring again.

The Bounce Back of UK Manufacturing Recruitment

Despite the concerns of an impending nationwide recession, the manufacturing industry has already started on the road to recovery. 

A surge of recent reports allude to a positive future ahead.

The BDO itself has forecasted an upcoming quarterly output contraction of 0.3%... a significant rise from the previous contraction of -3.3%. 

“The UK manufacturing industry is seeing a continued rebound in activity in the second quarter of the year, easing fears of a significant recession for the sector.” - Pes Media

Following this news, recruitment activity has already started to improve across the entire sector. It’s increased by 19% since last quarter. 

How to Fortify Your Business Against Upcoming Recession Challenges

To avoid missing out on the opportunities trickling back into UK manufacturing, you need to build as strong a team as possible. Your employees will get you through the recession ahead.

Step 1. Focus on Talent Retention

Did you know that you need experienced team members by your side in order to remain agile as a business? You can’t afford to lose your best talent. 

Your team’s creativity and problem-solving capabilities might just present the solution to all of your problems so, as a matter of priority, you need to start investing in talent retention. 

Step 2. Support Your Employees

To complement your talent retention efforts, you must offer additional support to help your team cope with the stressful financial climate. This can come in the form of salary increases, employee wellbeing initiatives, change management, and even learning and development schemes.

Step 3. Cut Costs Elsewhere

Too often, businesses respond to the signs of a recession by letting go of employees. This is actually one of the worst things you can do; causing you to lose vital skills and intelligence that could help you in a tight spot. Don’t be afraid to cut costs elsewhere.

Step 4. Trust Your Processes

Although recessions can often put a halt to business expansions and large pools of investment coming in, you need to have faith. You and your team have put in all the work required to make your manufacturing business into the force that it is today. A light breeze isn’t going to knock it over.

Step 5. Expand Your Horizons

Even if you have to expand your services to maintain a consistent source of income (onboarding additional experts in different specialisms), the processes that you already have in place will not let you down. Times like this can present opportunities for teams that are willing to adapt.

Step 6. Recruit Decision-Makers 

Whenever uncertainty is on the horizon, you can either ignore it or you can prepare for it.

In a recession, the quality of your employees will be paramount. Your staff’s ability to make confident, informed decisions will be foundational in keeping you afloat.

Before difficulty arises, you need to make a proactive effort to fill any existing gaps. This will equip your manufacturing business for success as you navigate unfamiliar environments, fortifying you against the challenges ahead. 

“[Manufacturers] are seeing a relative period of stability after the political and economic turmoil of the last few years when they have spent most of their time firefighting. Substantial challenges still remain, however.” – James BroughamAt Scantec, we prioritise selecting the perfect fit for your business. Our recruiters take time to review the hard and soft skills of each applicant in order to select someone that will thrive in their new role and embrace every challenge that comes their way. If you are currently hiring and would like further advice on identifying the best employee for the job, get in touch with Scantec today.