The introduction of greater automation in warehouses has increased the need for specialist engineers in the sector, according to a Kettering-based recruitment consultancy that specialises in engineering recruitment.
Award-winning company, Wills Consultants has an engineering division which works with companies who see the many benefits that automation brings.
Automation increases efficiency within warehousing and, though this might reduce the need of manual labour on assembly or distribution lines, there is an increased need for engineers, from installation right through to maintenance and flow. These are roles that were not in existence 10 years ago.
Recruitment consultant Chelsea Taylor said:
“There’s less need for unskilled labour but more need for skilled engineers. Companies are prepared to pay excellent salaries for experienced and qualified engineers, especially as opportunities are on the increase with new and state-of-the-art warehouses opening across the UK.”
With the increase in automation, technical expertise is required on site to ensure continuous performance and product flow, in some instances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In the past, warehouses had a workforce for manual tasks such as picking and packing, loading and distributing. Now forward- thinking firms are embracing automation technologies such as robotics and conveyor systems to move and pack products quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.
“On many sites, almost all touch points are now automated, even down to loading lorries,” said Chelsea.
“Companies are using automation to provide faster distribution for the customer. Place an order in the morning and in some cases, it could be delivered later the same day. Therefore, it is vital for on-site engineers to oversee and ensure optimisation of the overall performance.”
Warehouses have scheduled maintenance plans, as well as multi-level experienced staff, to keep a steady flow without unexpected disruption in the case of a breakdown.
“Qualified engineers are in demand and therefore, there is a shortage. However, don’t let the lack of a qualification put you off. More and more companies are prepared to assist with professional development whilst on the job. I would advise candidates to look at the professional training and development programmes that companies offer.”
There is also opportunity for apprenticeships and entry level positions that give workers the first step to being a part of an engineering team, right through to training involving international travel and working on new technology.
The market continues to be salary focused for engineering hires, especially where shifts are involved, however, candidates are also looking for progression opportunities and additional benefits.
“Whilst shift patterns allow companies to obtain that 24-hour cover, there still must be a good work/life balance, and most shifts offer good amounts of time between rotations. These unique working patterns are then reflected in salaries.
“We encourage any candidate looking to move into engineering to do your research on the company. When interviewing, most companies would offer a site tour to ensure that the candidate is aware of the environment in which they will be working.
“Engineering remains an exciting and much-needed sector and one that we love working in. If you need help in finding the correct engineering role, give us a call.”