Sheffield City Region manufacturers hit by lack of workers

The sun is shining on most Sheffield manufacturers.
The sun is shining on most Sheffield manufacturers.

Three quarters of manufacturers are hiring and predict a ‘substantial’ increase in orders over the next three months, according to a survey of city region firms.

They are also increasing investment in equipment, staff and training. But recruitment is being hampered by a lack of skilled manual and technical workers, according to the Quarterly Economic Survey, of 300 firms.

Sir Nigel Knowles

Sir Nigel Knowles

The results also found manufacturers had seen the cost of raw materials go up and, compared to last year, and a significantly higher proportion of firms expect to have to raise prices.

Dan Fell, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, said: “Recruitment remains a big issue for many firms and there is a fear that an inability to access the right talent could constrain growth. That is why its paramount that business and education work together to prepare young people to be work-ready.

“In the here and now, many employers are saying – despite macro-economic headwinds such as Brexit – that it is business as usual and experiencing solid growth.

“However, many are facing higher costs which increasingly translates into companies having to raise prices.

“With inflation already above the Bank of England’s target, these pressures looks set to continue and I suspect that in the not too distant future we may see confidence taper off,”

Firms in the service sector were having the most difficulty hiring managers, the survey revealed.

Meanwhile, all businesses identified the most important elements of the Government’s Industrial Strategy as encouraging growth, trade and inward investment and supporting businesses to start and grow.

However nearly half felt they didn’t know enough about it and how it would impact their business.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the region’s business body, the Local Enterprise Partnership: “The results give an important insight into businesses around the region. We know they want more support for starting and growing and to see the right local institutions to support people, industries and places.

“That’s why our Growth Hub is now the gateway for specialist business support including innovation, exporting, accessing finance and training.

The region’s four Chambers of Commerce for Doncaster, Barnsley & Rotherham, East Midlands and Sheffield published the survey results. It is sponsored by The Source.

Take the Q2 survey, from May 22, at