Can We Bridge The Engineering Skills Gap

Can We Bridge The Engineering Skills Gap?

The engineering sector is currently experiencing a lack of talented, trainee, qualified and experienced Engineers coming through. This skills gap is not just an issue for the engineering sector but for many other UK industries too. 

What is a skills shortage exactly? 

A skills shortage is when there are not enough people with a particular skill to fill vacant roles and meet demand. Any industry can be effected by a skills shortage at any time and these shortages can happen for a number of different reasons. 

How has this current skills shortage affected the engineering sector? 

Within the engineering sector in the UK there are 5.5 million people employed across a vast selection of roles in the industry. The engineering sector generates an impressive revenue of £455.6B to the UK economy, 27.1% of the total UK GDP! According to stats published in the latest Engineering UK 2016 report employers are looking for a minimum Level 3 qualification when considering filling engineering roles, with there now being a requirement for a rise in skill level to a Level 4 and above qualification. There is currently an annual shortfall of 29,000 people with Level 3 skills and 40,000 with Level 4+ skills! It is stated that 182,000 people with engineering skills are needed per year up until 2022 in order to bridge this gap. The demand for skilled Engineers is high, the salary companies are offering these workers represents this, and the demand has forced salaries to rise.

Why / how has this skills shortage come about?

There is still a strong misconception about what it means to be an Engineer and to work in the sector, the image is very dated and inaccurate. Due to a negative representation of the industry held by many, it is preventing talented individuals choosing engineering as a career. It is widely documented that the engineering industry is dominated by men, this should not act as a deterrent to any females considering engineering as career. This post about women in engineering can help disperse any stigma in regards to this.  A lack of understanding as to what it means to be an Engineer and what it is like working within the engineering sector has seen a fall in the amount of individuals pursuing a career in the field. 

How can the skills shortage be resolved?

There are a number of ways this skills shortage can be resolved, the most effective way may be focusing on education.  If the image of being an Engineer and having a career in the engineering industry can be positively reinforced more and more children and young adults will be open to the idea of pursuing it as a career. An Apprenticeship or Higher Education qualification is a perfect way to start on your career path within this industry, this needs to be encouraged! A career in the industry opens the door for a number of amazing career possibilities and offers a varied and fulfilled work life. The Engineering UK 2017 Synopsis and recommendations provides more of an insight into the industry.

In an article published on Modern Building Services Online discussing the Apprenticeship Levy as well as the engineering skills gap BSRIA, chief executive Julia Evans said the following ‘What is paramount is how important it is to close the industry skills gap. Apprenticeships provide the backbone for a career in engineering for many employees, and no compromises should be made regarding them. In essence, the levy must meet industry and apprenticeship needs.’

This statement reinforces the fact that it is vital this engineering skills shortage we are experiencing is rectified, and Apprenticeships will play a huge role in achieving this.

Has this engineering skills shortage affected you? If so, how? I am keen to find out and to see how I may be able to help in anyway. For your engineering Recruitment needs, if you are a client needing to find skilled workers to fill your roles, or perhaps a skilled worker looking for a new role contact Calco and we can help! Contact Gemma Humphrey on 020 8655 1600 /



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