Engineering UK recently released their 2017 report on the contribution engineering makes to the UK and looks how we are performing against plans to address the skills shortage. There were some recommendations on how we can counteract the shortage of skills filtering into the industry, proactively encouraging more youngsters to enter and remain within the Industry.
Only 15% of 1st degree engineering graduates were female
Although there has been an increase of 9% more engineering and technology first degrees obtained in 2014/15 than the year before, reports indicate that in order to keep up with the level of growth, we are falling short by around 20’000 graduates a year. Only 15% of first degree graduates were female so there is still some work to be done on gender diversity, and if we are to grow the numbers of people entering the industry, we can’t afford not to maximise this under represented pool of future engineers.
Speaking to clients over the last couple of years, people do have concerns over the imbalance of an aging workforce and people feeding it, but we are finding that more and more companies are playing their part by regularly taking on apprentices. The findings from the report demonstrate a similar trend, with a quarter of a million workplaces now offering apprenticeships which is a rise of nearly 5% in a year and 50% over five years.
Engineering apprenticeships highest for 10 years
There were also some positive outcomes from their surveys which saw 108,000 engineering apprenticeships started (England) through 2014/15 which is the highest for 10 years!
Plus 4 out of 5 manufacturing employers are reported to be planning to recruit manufacturing and engineering apprentices in the next year which is great news, especially with the percentage of 11 – 16 year olds considering a career in engineering increasing from 40% to 51% per cent in four years.
Companies are also taking in more graduates and according to the 2017 Graduate Market Report (highfliers). The country’s top employers plan to increase their graduate recruitment by a further 4.3% in 2017, the fifth consecutive year that graduate vacancies have grown.
They note how Employers can heavily influence younger people choosing the industry by increasing the level of interaction they have with schools and colleges to promote the industry, I’m fascinated by the world of engineering now that I have been exposed to it, but I never once considered it an option for me at school so I think it is great that companies are going into schools to show them how interesting it can.
With £486bn contributed by engineering to UK GDP in 2015, and set to increase, the Government obviously has a key interest in promoting more people into the industry.
The skill shortage may only seem an issue to those in engineering, but engineering activity has a particularly high wider employment multiplier effect: every extra person employed in engineering supports another 1.74 other jobs…that’s pretty startling.