A surge in infrastructure investment is fuelling demand for engineers, research has showed.
Research by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) shows that demand for engineering candidates has risen throughout the eurozone crisis, as demand for highly skilled candidates in other sectors falls.
Vacancies for engineers were up one per cent year-on-year in January for permanent candidates; vacancies for temps and contractors were up seven per cent year-on-year in January.
“Engineering remains the bright spot among the professional jobs market at the moment," Ann Swain, chief executive for APSCo said.
"Crossrail is Europe’s largest construction project and has created huge demand for engineering and project management specialists.
With the government focused on boosting investment in UK infrastructure projects, demand for engineering skills should remain buoyant.”
The APSCo Monthly Trends Report, which analyses job vacancies and placements across the UK professional staffing sector, shows that investment in infrastructure has rocketed 23.5 per cent year-on-year to a record £3.6 billion in Q4 2011, from £2.9 billion in Q4 2010.
Infrastructure investment in 2011 was at its highest level since 1980.
Demand for engineering contractors is particularly strong in the energy sector, including oil & gas, renewable energy and power transmission, APSCo added.
In other sectors, such as aerospace, skills shortages are still an issue.
“The UK has a long-term shortage of engineering skills," Swain added.
"With demand so strong, the government needs to ensure that the UK’s historical underproduction of engineering skills does not impede growth in vitals sectors such as oil & gas and power generation.
“Given the supply-side constraints, and with hirers facing growing competition for skills, pressure on pay in the engineering sector is likely to intensify this year.”
"The government funds a wide range of activities to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider careers in engineering," said a Department for Business spokesman.
"We are committed to improving the information available for prospective students on the excellent employment prospects a career in the sector can offer.
"We are also working with industry, through our See Inside Manufacturing and Make it in Great Britain campaigns to attract the brightest and best people into careers in science and engineering to tackle the shortage of skilled people and maintain the UK's position as one of the world's leading manufacturing countries."