Job applications more than halve in engineering

The engineering industry is experiencing significant challenges due to economic uncertainty and a shortage of skills, resulting in a sharp decrease in both job vacancies and applications.

This trend was highlighted in recent research by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

Data sourced from Broadbean Technology indicated a notable reduction in job availability. Permanent positions in December witnessed a 37% decline month-on-month, and contract vacancies fell by 33%. Although these figures may reflect typical seasonal hiring patterns, they represent the lowest vacancy levels recorded over the past year.

The decrease in job openings has had a corresponding effect on the number of applications. However, the decline in applications for engineering roles has been even more pronounced. Last month, applications for permanent roles decreased by 55%, while contract applications fell by 57%. APSCo has expressed concerns about an escalating skills gap in the engineering sector due to these trends.

Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo, commented: “While we expect to see vacancies and, subsequently applications, decline towards the end of the year, the falls reported in engineering are concerning. The UK has battled skills shortages in the sector for some time and while a slowdown in recruitment eases some of the pressures on talent pools, the drop in applications – particularly in contract roles – suggests there is a tightening of the labour market. The first quarter of 2024 will be a telling time for the strength of engineering recruitment, and we expect to see demand slowly pick up once again.”

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