Scottish Engineering’s latest Quarterly Review shows results for industry continuing in an upward trajectory

Scottish Engineering chief executive Paul Sheerin

THIS quarter’s review is an appreciated continuation of improvement for our sector’s outlook, and it feels like we can now release some optimism given that we are on an upward curve for the second quarter in a row. The forecasts that we viewed three months ago with caution have held up well, and the outlook for the next quarter looks to hold that gain, and whilst it’s not yet positive for all, improvement seems to be on its way across the board.

The review highlights that optimism, exports and staffing remain strongly positive for the second consecutive quarter since the pandemic started, with order intake up thirty-three percent for the last 3 months and forecasting a further positive thirty-six percent for the quarter to come. Challenges remain in the form of material pricing, availability, and the logistics capacity to get components and raw materials in, and especially billable finished goods out. Skills availability has quickly returned to be in short supply, and a lack of easily available skills from EU countries is indicated as a contributor to that deficit. In considering the long-term outlook for skills, the intentions for apprentice intakes for 2021 underlines that the financial impact of COVID-19 is limiting intake, with candidate availability, retention, and a lack of financial support initiatives also cited for holding back increasing numbers.

Scottish Engineering chief executive Paul Sheerin added: “We can allow ourselves to be upbeat with this improving forecast, even though the ongoing challenges will make this anything but plain sailing. The resilience and adaptation companies have shown to manage their way through the last eighteen months has been inspiring, and as ever despite the adversity, there have been shining examples of success throughout. Thanks to reduced Covid restrictions, next week will see a welcome return to a physical event with actual people to recognise our award-winning engineering companies and individuals, celebrating the significance of their achievements and success against the backdrop of a global pandemic.

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