Engineering and manufacturing ‘lag behind’ for post-COVID flexible working
9 Jun 2020
UK manufacturing and engineering firms were among the sectors least prepared to offer flexible working to staff before the COVID-19 crisis and will likely face the greatest challenge adapting to the workplace post-pandemic, says a new report.
Global solutions company Mitrefinch claims its survey of leading British firms show only the construction industry was performing more poorly in this respect.
It surveyed information based on the 10 largest employers in 20 key cities, noting engineering and manufacturing scraped a score of 2.7 out of possible 5 points for adaptability.
Top of the list was banking with a 4.1 point score.
Mitrefinch product and development director Mita Patel, acknowledged that there were particular issues for the lowest performing sectors in making changes.
“The difficulty with the manufacturing industry lies in the traditional nature of roles. Certain tasks can be challenging to perform remotely which leaves these industries falling behind as others make the shift to remote working,” she said.
“However, although surprising to many, there are many manufacturing jobs that can be done remotely. For instance many administrative tasks can be offloaded to allow managers to use time on site more productively. We are expecting to see a shift like this in these sectors over the next few months.”
Not all heavy industrial sectors performed badly. Aviation achieved joint second place alongside IT, with a score of 3.7 points. Automotive and utilities were lower but managed 3 and 2.8 points respectively.
“It’s no secret that the past couple of months have been some of the most challenging for UK businesses in recent years, and with some elements of restrictions likely due to remain in place upon lifting the full lockdown, there looks to be significant challenges in the months and years to come,” remarked Patel.
The report noted regional variations with employers in Cambridge, Nottingham and Edinburgh most prepared for long term remote and flexible working based on their pre-pandemic working conditions. Newcastle, Aberdeen and Coventry were the least prepared, added Patel.