As technology continues to change the landscape of many fields, manufacturers and engineers need to take advantage of the digital tools at their fingertips. The benefits of using this technology are plentiful. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can analyze consumer behavior and geographical data, leading to a better-informed consumer journey life cycle. If used in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT), AI can revolutionize the way that manufacturing and engineering industries train staff and conduct machine diagnosis.

Automation and AI, in many respects, go hand-in-hand, but automation hasn’t always been prevalent in manufacturing. Historically, a lot of what is now manufactured by machines was done by hand. Technological advances over the last 20 years have made automation a viable solution for businesses of all sizes to boost productivity. Not only does automation help close the skills gap, but it also gives businesses a competitive advantage via fast-paced production, repeatability, and more consistent quality.

Automation vs. Skill Set Availability

Automated processes have enabled businesses to balance cost-effective production. This use of the technology has led to increased demand for talent who can manage profit margins and have experience with automation. Project manager and operational leaders are especially sought-after.

The challenge is that more and more employers are looking for this combination of skills, and therefore the talent pool is shrinking. This makes the hiring process all the more difficult. Job descriptions are becoming more specific, and the people applying for them are less qualified as top performers are scooped up from the market. Therefore, the businesses that act fast and make quick decisions are bringing the best talent on board.

Here are some of the most in-demand skills in engineering and manufacturing:

  • Supplier development
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Multi-project management
  • Customer interface design
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Process design
  • Quality management
  • Strategy
  • Program management
  • Adaptability


These skills can help businesses to tightly control costs, minimize waste, and run efficient processes, all while maintaining high output and productivity. If they aren’t already, these skills should be on your list of priorities whenever you hire.


Skills Shortage

The increased demand for particular skills will isolate those who have operated in more traditional manufacturing environments and are arguably behind the curve. Automation increases the amount of technical and skilled labor needed, so apprenticeships and upskilling are vital for companies to grow their talent pipeline and retain the skilled, entry-level engineers and manufacturers that they already have.

A strong focus should be placed on developing existing staff. This will boost the skills and knowledge base of existing teams and help them to adapt to the changing needs of the sector. Continue to embrace the exponential technologies and fully utilize smart manufacturing to reap the benefits.

If you would like to discuss how we can help with your recruitment processes, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today. Or, you could take a look at our job listings . If you choose to apply, one of our expert consultants will be in touch.

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