Weekly News Bulletin – 12th January 2018

This week, we saw news from The Telegraph that skills shortages are at a critical level. Firms are struggling to recruit skilled workers, resulting in future growth being at risk. In similar news, Reuters reported survey findings that 71% of companies surveyed are struggling to recruit. With a warning that recruitment challenges could be one of the biggest risks to businesses in 2018, companies are being urged to train current employees rather than look for additional members of staff. With additional calls to do more to invest in people through training, are you finding it difficult to recruit at the level you need? Here at Metsec we are proud to develop highly skilled members of the team from entry level and our award-winning apprenticeship scheme, and we continue in invest in training however possible.

The Guardian reported that a poll has revealed that 40% of UK factories questioned are planning for growth in 2018, an optimistic view despite Brexit concerns. Whilst Brexit brings concerns about rising input costs and loss of staff, it also places a heavy focus on the UK’s industrial strategy to improve market growth. Are you optimistic about growth in 2018?

We also shared news that whilst other sectors are being affected by Brexit, the manufacturing sector is recording its fastest annual growth since March 2011. Whilst the manufacturing sector accounts for around 10% of the British economic output, the broader UK economy as a whole is not looking quite as strong as we enter the first quarter of 2018. The Construction Index would agree with this view for 2018 with news that construction product sales slowed in the fourth quarter of 2017 and expects to see the UK’s £56.5bn construction product manufacturing industry to slightly slow its pace further in the coming quarter.

Finally, Insider Media reported that businesses in the West Midlands are amongst the most confident in the UK. The West Midlands was reported as the third most confident with expectations to increase pay and preparing to hire more staff in the coming year. According to the publication, this is due to manufacturing remaining the most positive sector across the country. Do you agree that Midlands businesses are the most confident?

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Skills shortages at ‘critical levels’ risking UK growth, research claims

Firms are finding it harder than ever to recruit skilled workers, with almost three quarters of services businesses struggling to make the hires they need.

UK economy set for ‘underwhelming’ 2018, says British Chambers of Commerce

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy looks set for an underwhelming 2018, according to a major survey on Wednesday that showed businesses are in a subdued mood ahead of Brexit.

UK factories optimistic for 2018 despite Brexit concerns, survey finds

A majority of companies polled expect global demand and growth in export markets to sustain order books

Industry gives Brexit-bound UK economy a shot in the arm

British industry enjoyed solid growth in November, benefiting from a global upturn that has allowed the economy to outperform gloomy forecasts made after 2016’s Brexit vote, although it still lags behind its international rivals.

Building products sector braced for slowdown

Sales of construction products slowed in the fourth quarter of 2017 and a further slowdown is expected in 2018.

West Mids ‘amongst most confident regions’

Businesses in the West Midlands are among the most confident in the UK, a new study has found.