BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM – 17 August 2023 – Research published today by HR and payroll specialists, Zellis, shows that pay and benefits, training, and improved company culture will be key factors to focus on for organisations attempting to retain talent in the manufacturing sector over the coming months. Almost half (44%) of UK and Ireland (UK&I) employees in the manufacturing sector are planning to leave their roles within the next two years, with a third (33%) not feeling motivated by their job.

Access the research here

With a combination of Brexit, the pandemic, labour shortages, and skills gaps bringing disruption to the UK&I manufacturing sector, organisations are increasingly having to focus on not only attracting talent but retaining existing employees and safeguarding against poor motivation. Zellis’ research shows that pay and benefits make up the most significant motivational factor, with 46% of respondents stating an increased salary or bonus would provide much-needed motivation.

Training and development opportunities are also key motivating factors, with around a third (31%) of respondents citing it as a key factor in feeling positive and motivated by their work. Despite well over two-thirds (71%) of respondents viewing training and development as important to them in their work life, 35% of respondents felt they weren’t getting the quality of training and development that they expect.

Beyond engagement, these concerns are having a clear impact on retention. 28% of employees said they would leave their current employer sooner because of poor training and skills development. A lack of recognition or appreciation would prompt such a move in 31%, while 43% would move to a different company to escape inadequate pay and benefits. Conversely, 51% would stay in their current role for longer if offered increased salary or bonus.

“Finding and keeping the right people with the right skills is an ever-present problem in any industry, but particularly within a manufacturing sector which is working hard to compete globally. With this backdrop, our research underlines a potential wave of resignations which might be faced by manufacturing organisations over the next couple of years if key changes are not made quickly,“ said Rebecca Mullins, Director of HCM Solutions at Zellis.

While this could be seen as a warning sign for the industry, it also highlights the opportunities for organisations that are willing and ready to be flexible and listen to the needs of their employees. In addition to offering competitive pay and benefits, this research shows that manufacturing businesses should focus on investing in training and fostering a supportive work culture to boost their chances of attracting and retaining recruits.”

Rebecca Mullins, Director of HCM Solutions, Zellis

Manufacturing employees who responded to the survey also cited workplace culture as an important factor for their motivation and happiness in a role: 23% would value ‘a more supportive work culture’, and 27% want to be more ‘recognised for their achievements’. 38% would leave their current employee sooner if faced with a ‘toxic or unsupportive work culture.’

Zellis surveyed a cross-section of the UK and Ireland manufacturing workforce, with 500 employees from a range of manufacturing subsectors responding to questions in July 2023. The research is available here.