West Midland Manufacturers are optimistic for growth in 2013, reinforcing recent economic forecasts predicting an upturn in the sector, according to figures released today.
The latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer revealed 45 per cent of companies questioned have seen an increase in their order books over the past six months, with 58 per cent expecting turnover to grow between now and June 2013.
The predicted expansion comes as the number of companies expecting to take on staff has risen from 11 per cent to 39 per cent and those investing in new premises and machinery jumps from 7 per cent to 44 per cent.
More than 40 per cent of manufacturers cited wage salary expectations as a barrier to growth, followed by availability of skills (38 per cent), levels of skills available (37 per cent) and knowing where to advertise to find the right candidate (21 per cent).
Production operatives, CAD designers and R&D engineers are among the employees most in demand by SME manufacturers.
When asked about fulfilling future staff requirements between now and 2016, manufacturers told MAS that apprentices and graduates will only fill 39 per cent of the new jobs.
“The overwhelming feeling is one of positivity, with sales expectations, future investment in premises/machinery and the desire to create employment all up on the previous report,” said Lorraine Holmes, area director for MAS in the North and West Midlands.
“Our companies are sending out a powerful message and highlighting their determination to explore new opportunities in 2013 following a year of global consolidation in 2012.”
Business secretary Vince Cable added: “Manufacturing is a key driver in our economy, which is why it takes centre stage in the industrial strategy for growth.
“As clearly demonstrated in the latest MAS Barometer findings, skills provision remains a concern for many manufacturing SMEs. It’s vital, therefore, that the government and industry continue to work together to address it, and other growth priority issues like access to finance and attracting young people into manufacturing.”
The business secretary is attending the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) manufacturing summit in Warwickshire today addressing West Midland Manufacturers who could potentially be looking for finance.