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Sustainability and automation drive job trends in manufacturing


Manufacturing and engineering industries have experienced substantial shifts in job search volumes over the past year.

Companies are seeking employees who possess skills that enable them to adapt to new technologies such as AI, robotics, and green energy solutions. The growing focus on sustainability has also fuelled the demand for candidates with knowledge of renewable energy sources and sustainable materials production techniques.

Research by Sigma Recruitment shows notable increases in job searches for sectors such as food manufacturing, life sciences, and aerospace. However, traditional fields like chemical, electronics, medical devices, energy, and oil & gas witnessed decreased interest compared to the average monthly search volume in the past 12 months. Despite the downward trend, jobs in the chemical and oil and gas sectors still maintain significant average monthly search volumes, with an estimated 1600 searches per month each.

“We are seeing a shift towards industries where sustainability and automation are the core of their business,” Rhys Williams, managing director of Sigma Recruitment, said. “This trend is reflected in the 19 per cent increased search volume for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths jobs, as well as power generation (+15 per cent) and manufacturing (18 per cent).

“Where the trends in popular sectors such as chemical and oil and gas have trended downwards, in our experience they still remain popular and buoyant sectors for jobs. We are seeing more jobs requiring IT, data and analytical skills which may involve different type of online searches than traditional ‘chemical engineering jobs”

The study also explored the types of job positions candidates were searching for, revealing intriguing insights. While searches for keywords like ‘chemical engineer jobs’ and ‘aerospace engineer jobs’ declined, searches for ‘big data engineer jobs’ experienced an upsurge.

The study highlighted ‘chemical engineer jobs’ as having the highest decline in search volume at -19 per cent, closely followed by ‘aerospace engineer jobs’ at -15 per cent. On the other hand, the most significant growth was observed in ‘petroleum engineer jobs’ with a 13 per cent increase. Other roles experiencing increased interest included ‘biomedical engineer jobs’ (six per cent), ‘environmental engineer jobs’ (five per cent), and ‘systems engineer jobs’ (four per cent).

According to Sigma Recruitment, these changes can be attributed to advancements in technology, increasing environmental awareness, and shifting societal demographics. Williams added, “It is now more crucial than ever for companies across all industries to stay updated with current job market trends to ensure they attract the right talent for their businesses.”

Rhys Williams emphasised the importance of attracting graduates, stating, “Securing graduates going to be key to organisations future-proofing their workforce with the right skill sets. They bring a high level of IT skills and tend to be increasingly environmentally and sustainably aware.”

To address these challenges, organisations seeking ambitious candidates should consider new strategies such as offering attractive salaries, flexible working hours, or remote working options. Moreover, companies should focus on creating engaging content that resonates with graduates looking for their next career move. This could include showcasing inspiring stories of current employees or highlighting the values of the business that set it apart from competitors.

It is clear that businesses need to adapt quickly to remain competitive in today’s job market. By understanding what students and job seekers are looking for in terms of opportunities, companies can give themselves the best chance of securing top talent for their organisations.

With this new insight into job search trends, businesses are encouraged to consider how they can better target potential candidates. These trends suggest significant changes occurring within the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sectors. Companies must now prioritise hiring individuals with specific skill sets if they want to stay competitive in this rapidly changing environment.

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