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Q&A: What did we think of Smart Factory Expo 2023?

As the industry’s leading manufacturing exhibition, Smart Factory Expo showcases the latest digital innovations in technology, processes and thinking behind Industry 4.0 – making it one our Smart Industry team don’t like to miss!

Associate Director Kimberley Wellen and Account Manager Victoria Rybak headed to Birmingham last week, and I’ve caught up with them to see what they made of this year’s event, as well as picking their brains on some of the latest developments going on in the space.

Here’s what they had to say…

Overall, how did you find SFE this year?

Kimberley: I love attending events as there really is no comparison to meeting so many of our customers in one place and network with new prospects. The location of Smart Factory Expo meant that many interesting businesses attended – making it a really great event.

Victoria: We got to see some brand-new technology which is entering the market – this was great to see, alongside experiencing product demos from some of our customers. Gaining a deeper understanding on the tech our clients works with helps us sell their value proposition much better when we’re talking to candidates in the space.

Did you notice any market trends?

Victoria: There’s heaps of new products and technology launching, which is a great sign of the market moving in the right direction. Despite that we have a more conservative market at the moment, there are a lot of start-up companies with excellent products on the upward growth trajectory – exciting!

And what about any recruitment trends?

Victoria: Businesses are still hiring and there are many fantastic opportunities out there. What we did see is that many companies are trying to get the most out of their existing talent teams before reaching out to external recruiters, sometimes massively limiting their options.

Kimberley: The event also helped us identify new blockers, such as companies thinking they’re too small for a recruitment company like us to take on their roles due to bad experience in the past. This was a great chance to chat about FMC’s track record in supporting start-ups and their growth.

Victoria: We heard that a lot of our clients and prospects are expecting to increase their headcount towards the end of the year, through Q3/4, which is really exciting for candidates who may be starting to think about as a move as we partner with some very cool companies!

What do you think the future looks like in the space?

Victoria: I’m expecting the market to pick up again very soon as it’s full of new opportunities. There is a lot of interest in the new technology we saw and expect this hype to continue around future tech to come, people are embracing change at the moment rather than fearing the unknown!

Kimberley: It goes without saying but companies with strong products will dominate the market, quality is key right now.

To finish, what did you enjoy most about the event?

Victoria: The variety and quality of businesses who attended, from start-ups to industry leaders, hardware and software businesses.

Kimberley: I attend a lot of industry events so I’m a big fan of a well organised one, and Smart Factory Expo nailed it. The footfall was high too, which always makes us come away from a trip feeling extra accomplished having spoken to a lot of people.

Victoria: We’re also never ones to complain about all the chocolate and freebies on offer!

How did you find the show? We'd be interested to hear your feedback!

If you work within the Industry 4.0 space and are looking to grow your team this year, or simply want to discuss what trends we are seeing in the market in more detail, you can get in touch with Kim on kimberley.wellen@fmctalent.com or Victoria on victoria.rybak@fmctalent.com.

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