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5 Industries with Serious Skills Shortages

From the sheer number of reports and statistics being published about the current lack of opportunities in the UK job market, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the outlook was bleak for anyone wanting to embark on a new career.

With UCAS figures showing a record number of students being accepted at universities and the highest ever number of graduates achieving first-class honours, according to the Higher Education and Statistics Agency, competition is understandably fierce in many popular sectors.

However, if you are looking to pursue a career in an area that will allow you a bit more freedom and a very competitive salary, there are a few oft-overlooked industries that are crying out for fresh new talent. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our five picks for you to consider.

1. Accounting

Accounting is a diverse industry, with plenty of opportunities to work independently, as part of a firm, or within a particular sector. Furthermore, it’s also an industry where there is a big demand for candidates with the right training and skillset, demonstrated in the 10.2% year-on-year rise in advertised vacancies between the months of March and June 2016, as reported by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies.

Additionally, there are plenty of routes into a career as an accountant, such as taking a related degree or embarking on professional trading with a recognised body like the ACCA or ICAEW. These bodies generally offer the most flexible training options, with courses and distance learning available for anyone looking to start their journey as a qualified accountant.

2. Construction

When the UK experienced its recent recession, many projects in the construction industry were cancelled or put on hold, slowing progress. This caused many people to leave the business to look for employment elsewhere — many of whom have not returned as the sector has mounted a recovery. Construction is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a career where you can work with both your head and your hands, and it also gives you the opportunity to take part in projects where you can stand back and admire your achievement.

From architecture and surveying to bricklaying and plumbing, there is something within the sector to suit everyone, as well as excellent salary prospects and a chance to develop a skillset that can take you across the world in your career. Depending on what role you intend to pursue, there are many different training options to explore, including degrees, diplomas, and apprenticeships.

3. IT

While construction is a sector in recovery, IT has never slowed in its growth. You just need to look at the £1.57 billion, reported by London & Partners, that was invested in new tech start-ups in 2015 alone to see that the industry is in rude health. In our ever more tech-orientated world, the need for IT professionals who specialise in making sure that everything runs according to plan has never been higher.

IT is an area to get involved in if you are looking for a career at the cutting edge. Also, because almost every company needs to adapt or embrace technology to thrive, the opportunities to find a role are almost limitless. As there is demand from so many directions for expertise in IT, employability and job flexibility prospects are very good, as are the salaries on offer for people with the right skills.

4. Logistics and material handling

The logistics and material handling sector is one that can commonly be overlooked, usually thanks to its role behind the scenes of some of the world’s biggest companies. It is an essential support industry for many others, such as e-commerce and manufacturing, and without it they would grind to a halt. Materials handling and logistics isn’t an ultra-glamorous career, however, there’s virtually no marketplace that doesn’t rely on material handlers to move their items at some point down the line. Because of this, it’s an indispensable industry, one that can provide a career for life.

Thanks to the widespread reliance on logistics and material handling, it is a solid industry with excellent employability prospects. The best way to start a career in the sector is through an apprenticeship, where you can earn as you learn, gaining hands-on experience in the warehouse or depot environment. You can use the government’s apprenticeship search tool to find one near you.

5. Engineering

Engineering has a lot of branches, from mechanical and manufacturing to chemical and electrical. It also plays a key role in the day-to-day operation of many essential industries. What’s more, is the fact that it is another area of employment that is in need of people with the right skills and training to secure a bright future for the UK.

The Royal Academy of Engineers calculated that the country needs 75,000 new engineers every year until 2020 to meet the industry’s targets, but it also revealed that the yearly count stands at 22,000 — not even a third of the number. Because of this, pursuing a career in this sector can give you a lot of choice over where you work and what your role will be — not to mention the healthy salary prospects and future employability benefits you will enjoy.

You can pursue a path as an engineer by undertaking a dedicated degree in engineering, or by studying a related maths or science subject and specialising later. You can also find higher apprenticeship opportunities that can lead to a professional qualification, as well as a wage and on-the-job experience throughout your training period.

Some of these industries listed in this article may never have crossed your mind as somewhere you see yourself working. But, believe me, each are worthy of your consideration, and you might just benefit from the fact that they are all actively looking for eager new trainees.

About the author: Elaine Smith is HR Manager at Impact Handling, a forklift truck engineer and driver trainer who specialise in the development of apprentice and trainees for the material handling industry.

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