The shortage of skilled engineers in the UK stands to be an ongoing issue, but according to a new report it's the West Midlands that has been hit the hardest.
Barclays' Employer's Survey 2015 found that 52 per cent of businesses in the West Midlands reported the most shortages were in their engineering departments - higher than any other region in the UK.
What's more, a further 36 per cent of West Midlands respondents admitted to having shortages across all sectors of their businesses.
It was found, however, that of the 660 UK businesses surveyed, those in the West Midlands came out top in terms of planning to create more jobs this year.
Middle and junior management roles were shown to be the most in-demand, with 91 per cent of businesses planning to fill them. In contrast, 47 per cent of businesses said they plan to hire at a senior level - an increase of 40 per cent from 2014.
Despite the engineering skills shortage in the region, half of businesses admitted to feeling more confident about the UK economy than they did this time last year.
The report also showed that apprentices were deemed valuable, with 37 per cent of West Midlands businesses set to take them on this year.
Ray O'Donoghue, managing director of Barclays Corporate Banking, said: "Businesses are becoming increasingly engaged with apprenticeships, hiring more year-on-year, but it would appear to be the largest businesses that are really ramping up their hiring.
"Smaller businesses may feel more constrained by resources, but grants and support available to help SMEs take on apprentices could open the door to talented new employees, and ultimately bring these businesses tangible commercial benefits."
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