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Occupations

21% of employees in the process and manufacturing sector are process, plant and machine operatives and 24% are in skilled trades. These are both comparable with the distribution of the whole manufacturing sector, but are considerably higher than the UK averages in these bands (7% and 11% respectively).

More than a third of employers (34%) employ staff in skilled trades occupations, although staff in this occupational group account for a smaller share of the workforce as whole (17%).

The incidence of employment of staff in largely unskilled occupations (process, plant and machine operatives and elementary occupations) is particularly high within the paper (57%) and extractive and mineral processing (56%) sub-sectors (compared with an average across the whole sector of 42%). The furniture and glass sub-sectors employ a relatively high proportion of skilled trade workers (27% and 22% of the workforces within these sectors respectively). 9% of staff within the coatings sub-sector is employed within professional occupations.

Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment 2010 and The 2009 Employer Survey

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Occupational skill shortages and gaps

Before the recession, around 15% of companies in the sector reported to be experiencing skills shortages. Skills shortages are around 5%. Despite the fall in skills shortages, around 14% of all employers report skill gaps in their existing workforce, which is slightly lower than in 2006 (17%). Skill gaps are reported across the range of occupational groups:

  • skilled trades (10%)
  • technical roles (17%)
  • managers (8%)
  • process, plant and machine operatives (11%)

The three most frequently mentioned skills are technical, practical or job-specific skills (67%), problem solving skills (33%) and oral communication skills (32%).

There is also a continuing need for management skills at all levels across the sector, but current programmes have only had limited success in persuading managers of their need for training to date.

Softer skills such as team working are also required.

Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment 2010 and The 2009 Employer Survey

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Occupational vacancies

Before the recession, around 16% of companies in the sector said that they were experiencing vacancies, mostly in the process and plant operations occupational group. The majority of these vacancies were judged to be hard-to-fill due to skill shortages.

Around 5% of companies are currently reporting vacancies, with around 1 in 5 of them judged to be hard-to-fill. The proportion of employers reporting current vacancies increases with organisation size. For instance, 4% of companies with 2-9 employees report vacancies, compared with 33% with 200 or more employees.

Vacancies are most likely to be reported within skilled trades occupations (37% of organisations with current vacancies) and vacancies in these occupations account for just under a third of all current vacancies (31% of all vacancies reported). Around 12% of all employers with vacancies report vacancies for process, plant and machine operatives, but these roles account for 27% of all current vacancies. This suggests that a minority of employers are having problems finding operational employees with the right skills.

More than half the vacancies in coatings are to be found within higher order occupations (22% are for managers and 30% for associate professional and technical staff). 61% vacancies in glass and related industries, 56% in printing and 53% in glazed ceramics sub-sectors are for skilled trades occupations, whilst 43% within extractive and mineral processing are within these occupations. Vacancies for process, plant and machine operatives are most prevalent in the paper (47%), glazed ceramics (47%), furniture (46%) and building products (43%) sub-sector. One in four vacancies within the paper sub-sector (25%) is for sales and customer service staff.

Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment 2010

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Salaries

One-third of companies have company bonuses and around a quarter have individual performance related pay, or flexible benefits. Around one-half of companies in the sector have none of these particular employee benefits.

The following annual average salaries are only a guide:

Building Products

  • Entry level – e.g. Junior Production Operative £12,000 - £14,000
  • Full operative – e.g. Production Operative £14,000 - £28,000+
  • Senior Management – e.g. Production Manager £25,000 - £40,000+

Coating

  • Entry level – e.g. Trainee Maintenance Engineer £11,000 - £12,500
  • Full operative – e.g. Production Quality Controller £14,000 - £18,000
  • Senior Management – e.g. Senior Maintenance Engineer £25,000 - £40,000

Extractives and mineral processing

  • Entry level – e.g. Production Operative £12,000 - £14,000
  • Full operative – e.g. Quality Assurance Technician £14,000 - £18,000+
  • Senior Management – e.g. Engineering Manager £25,000 - £40,000

Furniture, furnishings and interiors

  • Entry level – e.g. Packaging & Dispatch Operative £12,000 - £14,000
  • Full operative – e.g. Soft Furnisher £14,000 - £18,000
  • Senior Management – e.g. Research & Development Manager £45,000 - £75,000+

Glass and related industries

  • Entry level – e.g. Production Operative £12,000 - £14,000
  • Full operative – e.g. Quality Assurance Technician £14,000 - £18,000+
  • Senior Management – e.g. Engineering Manager £25,000 - £40,000

Paper

  • This information is not currently available.

Print and printed packaging

  • Entry level – e.g. Production Operative £10,000 - £16,000
  • Full operative – e.g. Machine Printer £16,000 - £35,000+
  • Senior Management – e.g. Senior Production Manager £25,000 - £70,000

Glazed ceramics

  • This information is not currently available

Source: Proskills AACS LMI report 2010 and The 2009 Employer Survey

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Occupational roles and sources of information

Prospect4u is the careers website managed by Proskills Sector Skills Council. It provides statistics on each sub-sector, information on working in the sub-sector, types of jobs and career progression, key skills required, qualifications, case studies and where to find out more.

The National Careers Service website also has detailed occupational profiles for some occupations in the manufacturing and engineering section. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.

The Graduate Prospects website (the UK graduate careers website) has a section entitled manufacturing, details the past, present and future issues of the sector, lists key roles and occupations as well as case studies and further contacts for the sector.

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