UK manufacturing employment turnover up amid buoyant jobs market

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Labour turnover in the UK manufacturing industry has increased for the second year in succession as employees take advantage of a buoyant jobs market and skills shortages to move jobs.

This is according to the latest annual Labour Turnover survey from Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation.

The data shows that turnover (the number of people leaving companies through resignation, redundancy, retirement or dismissal) rose to 14.4% in 2018, up from 13.2% in 2017. This reflects the buoyant jobs market with high levels of employment and skills shortages which are meaning there are greater numbers of opportunities for highly skilled employees to choose from.

The smallest rate of churn was seen by the rubber, plastics and chemicals sector (12.9%) whilst the highest (14.6%) was seen by the metals and other manufacturing sectors. The region with the highest turnover was the South East, including London, at 17.6% which reflects the especially buoyant job market and overall growth of manufacturing in the region.

Companies with 101-250 employees had the largest proportion of employees on the move at 16.4%.

Seamus Nevin, Make UK Chief Economist, said: “The number of people in work has risen to a record level yet again and Brexit is clearly not stopping firms hiring staff. For manufacturers, in fact, it is the opposite. Investment in recruitment is really the only major area of business spend at the moment. Preparations for potential trade disruption in the event of a No Deal Brexit are in full swing and employers are hiring staff to help them get over the line.

“However, while these job numbers are broadly positive we cannot get carried away. The labour market is a lagging indicator of economic performance. Recruiting people takes time so today’s numbers are a reflection of past rather than current performance. For jobs growth to continue, productivity needs to improve and the only sustainable way to ensure it does is for Government to give businesses the certainty they need to invest.

“For that to happen, businesses are clear that policymakers must avoid a disorderly No Deal Brexit and restore some much needed confidence for companies to start to invest again in skills, wages and productivity.”

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