Scottish engineering firms have reported a drop in orders and a continuing slump in skills available to the industry, according to the results of a new survey.
The survey, conducted by Scottish Engineering, also found that output has fallen. It is the first time in over two years that such a fall has been recorded.
Despite this though, many firms are still confident for the future, with a number having investment plans on the agenda.
The chief executive of the trade body, Bryan Buchan, said:
“While it is apparent that order intake has softened, optimism remains positive, as do forecasts for the next three months in terms of trading outlook.”
There are no clear details of what the investment plans are, or what strategies will be used, but it is likely they will focus on upskilling and recruitment in the sector. Many firms may also look to invoice factoring to fund their plans.
Whilst there is optimism for the year, the engineering sector, as with many other sectors in Scotland, is looking to reduce debts. Alternative approaches to commercial finance in Scotland are on the increase as a result, with many city brokers helping locate flexible and innovative solutions.
Discussing the need for skills, Buchan continued:
“Throughout the country, there are unfilled vacancies for engineers in various skills from machine operators to design engineers. We plan to initiate a range of activities to actively address this major inhibitor to our growth.”
Confirmation of Scottish Engineering’s recruitment plans are yet to be disclosed.