Over half of Midlands aerospace and defence firms expect to take on extra staff in the remainder of this year despite accelerating employment costs, a skills shortage and looming Brexit concerns.

According to a study by Worcestershire-based engineering recruitment firm Consilium Recruit, figures reveal that 51% of businesses in the region who manufacture and supply to the aerospace sector expect their headcount to rise.

The Aerospace Salary Guide, an annual publication produced by the Stourport-on-Severn based jobs specialists, also shows that one third of the companies surveyed do not expect job losses, despite uncertainly over the European Union exit deal. 32% say it is too early to tell how Brexit will affect them.

Consilium Recruit’s Business Manager James Charlett, said: “The UK aerospace industry is experiencing strong and sustained growth with deliveries in the first half of 2017 worth a record £13bn to the UK sector alone. However, Brexit negotiations will play an important part in determining whether the UK aerospace sector can now realise its full potential and capitalise on the opening of new markets in addition to maintaining existing trade arrangements.

“This is a truly global industry and we need an outcome that ensures access to customers, skills and influence in order to remain globally competitive.

“The main and most pressing concern remains the shortage of engineering talent. This, coupled with the global aircraft order backlog at an all-time high, means that the severe skills shortages being experienced in the sector are expected to only worsen.

“The Government must clarify its future visa policy so that ambitious firms can not only attract global talent into the UK, but also give a clear message to those already here that they are welcome.”

The UK’s aerospace sector has seen almost a 40% growth in the past five years. It employs 262,000 people, with 8,100 apprentices.