Shortage of engineering skills to cost UK £27bn a year

12 January 2015
By Laura Onita
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Engineering accounts for a quarter (24.9 per cent) of UK turnover according to a new report 

Almost 55,000 jobs should be filled every year to meet the industry demand for workers with engineering skills, according to an engineering organisation.

The figures, included in the report ‘The State of Engineering’, have shown that the shortage skills could cost the UK economy up to £27bn a year if companies fail to hire 182,000 engineers annually until 2022.

"Britain is great at engineering but this will not continue if we don't address the massive shortage of skills,” said Miranda Davies, director of emerging talent at Thales.  

“We need young people to understand our industry better, to see the range of careers available and to be excited by where engineering could take them."

Unless the projected employer demand for the number of engineering apprentices and graduates entering the industry doubles, it could have long-term effects on the economic development of the country.

According to business secretary Vince Cable the engineering sector plays a fundamental part in the economic recovery process.

“In government, we're working hard to make sure we have the skills we need in 2022 and beyond, but we need to work with industry to make sure we inspire the engineers of tomorrow, today," Cable said.

The report, produced by Engineering UK, revealed that the UK does not have either the current capacity or the growth rate needed at all levels of study to meet the forecasted demand for skilled engineers in the next seven years.

Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid, said: "Engineering has an image problem. According to this report, it is slowly shedding its image as a 'grubby boys' club', but there's still a long way to go.

"It's incredible that while 12 per cent of parents stated they would like their son to become an engineer, only 2 per cent said the same about their daughter. By failing to inspire girls, we're cutting ourselves off from an enormous pool of potential talent.”

"This report shows the UK is facing a cliff-edge. It provides sobering statistics on the drastic shortage of engineers the UK faces. Every politician and policy-maker must understand the messages it is sending,” said Stephen Tetlow, chief executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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