20th Jan, 2021

Kimberly Hunsdon
Author
Kimberly Hunsdon
Job Title
Area Manager

While the pandemic overshadowed much of 2020, the government’s announcement of its plans to transition to a greener economy in the middle of last year promises to have a transformative effect on the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Government funded renewable energy projects could be the key to engineering employment for the next year, with the sector playing a key role as UK tries to invest its way out of recession.

With the UK developing a greener economy, engineers will look to adapt their knowledge and experience into this growing sector. Reskilling could become the biggest challenge for businesses over the next 10 years.

Engineering and manufacturing labour market trends

The current employment market presents challenges to both employers and professionals. There is a saturation of candidates on the market, but the best professionals are still those who are currently in a job.

This offers a dilemma for employers: do they try to attract candidates currently in work who are reluctant to move roles due to the economic situation, or do they look to the pool of available candidates who may be less qualified and seek to provide them with training?

There are plenty of areas of growth in the sector. Not only will government investment in renewables directly create engineering jobs, but it will also support third party manufacturing firms who supply components including electronics and control systems, rotating machinery, alternators, and generators.

Engineering companies supplying and servicing the commercial logistics sector are thriving. With businesses and consumers becoming reliant on online and delivery services, this provides more work for engineering businesses servicing and repairing the equipment these companies use.

With many senior engineers nearing retirement age, traditional engineering industries will also require an infusion of new talent. This will increase the number entry-level positions available, helping inexperienced professionals to kickstart their careers.

Engineering salaries and benefits

Engineers tend to favour additional benefits more than the salary they are offered. Though in the current climate, the key to attracting professionals is to demonstrating stability. Job security has become the top priority for most professionals in the industry, meaning that managers need to demonstrate an effective business plan to ensure professionals feel confident enough to move roles.

When it comes to the benefits candidates want, a Reed survey covering all sectors in late 2020, found that higher company pensions, performance bonuses, flexibility, health insurance, and remote working were the benefits most desired by professionals. Engineering firms offering one or a combination of these will increase their chances of attracting the best candidates.

Regional salary insights in engineering and manufacturing

Reed’s 2021 Engineering Salary Guide helps you to benchmark salaries for some of the most popular roles in the sector, helping organisations to pay the market rate and professionals to know their worth.

Overall, engineering saw 2.1% growth in average salaries across the UK. Here are some of the key highlights:

  • Northern Ireland continued its long history of engineering excellence, with salaries across the country increasing by 2.6%.

  • The South West witnessed a whopping 9.2% average salary increase, with system engineer salaries up 9.4% and systems engineer remuneration rise by 8%.

  • Engineering and manufacturing firms in the East Midlands were quick to adapt to the pandemic, helping average salaries in the region increase by 3.9%.

  • Programme managers and design managers in the North East saw average pay rise by 5.2% and 5.3% respectively.

For more information on what you could be earning, or the salaries you should be paying, download Reed's free Engineering 2021 Salary Guide now. The guide contains insight and salary data for the industry across the UK, and will help you make informed decisions in the year ahead.