The Office of National Statistics’ most recent figures state the percentage of the UK’s population engaged in manufacturing work has decreased from 25% in 1975 to just 8% today. The UK is seen as a service economy and yet the proportion of jobs in (or reliant upon) manufacturing is still huge. The last Government has been conspicuously promoting the return of the sector and I firmly believe the current focus on manufacturing is critical to the continuing recovery of UK Plc.
So how does this affect careers in the manufacturing sector? Globalisation, economic uncertainty and the nature of modern careers have encouraged job mobility; but I believe there is a fine line between job mobility (sounds good) or job hopping (not so good).
In a decreasing market weathering factory closures there has inevitably been difficulty for candidates to maintain longevity of tenure; jobs are sometimes lost and then new ones taken on a ‘needs must basis’. In times of growth however, there is always a shift towards candidate rather than client led markets, and the much talked about engineering skills shortage further exacerbates supply/demand issues. When there is increased opportunity being a smart mover rather than a job hopper can pay dividends.
Recruiters and employers will look to your CV for evidence of success, and the more sustainable and long term the success the better. It is counterintuitive - recruiters potentially benefit from people moving around yet will want the candidates they are representing to be able to demonstrate to their client length of tenure and tangible progression. As markets heat up, it becomes even more vital to do your due diligence. There are plenty of opportunities out there so if you are making a move, make sure it is the right one.
David Thomas is a Principal Consultant in the Manufacturing & Engineering Practice at Berwick Partners.