I've just listened to a briefing on the state of engineering in the UK in 2016 by Anil Kumar (Director of Education and Research, Engineering UK), organised by the REC (the recruiters professional body). It confirmed what recruiters know well - if you're a qualified engineer then you're in demand. And if you're considering a career in engineering then you could do a lot worse!
Actually, we've all got used to the discussions in the press about skills shortages in engineering and technology. We hardly stop to think about it anymore. But do you realise just how important this (your?) sector is to the UK economy, and just how much ground needs to be made up?
Engineering is critical to the success of the UK economy
Engineering delivers £455.6bn of GDP for the UK - that equates to 27.1%, and it provides 14.5m jobs, a massive 55% of UK employment. A sector so big offers a wide range of different opportunities, something to suit all different career stages across many, many different industries.
A quick poll of the recruiters on the webinar confirmed that, despite being such a large scale employment sector, engineering jobs are consistently hard to fill, with the manufacturing sector being hardest of all. Not such good news for employers who are having to find new ways to attract the best talent, but definitely good news if you're an engineer or technician looking to make their next career move!
A career in engineering
Chances are, if you're reading this, that you are already embarked on your career in engineering. But if you're just researching the opportunities, or are uncertain about whether to continue in this field, it might help you to know a bit more about how the employment landscape is shaping up.
- To meet the forecast demand for engineering personnel the UK needs 182,000 extra engineers each year between now and 2020.
- This means we need double the current rate of graduates and apprentices.
- The average starting salary for graduates is £27,079 - which is the 2nd highest of all graduate employment sectors.
Engineers use maths and science to solve world problems, but you only need to look at the varied list of job roles that our consultants at Exectec recruit for to realise that covers a lot of different options. Something for everyone surely?
Women in engineering
To hit these numbers it is vital that the industry becomes more accessible to women. Although girls are out-achieving boys across all the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) in the education pipeline very few of them are pursuing the subject through to a career in engineering. Theories on the reasons for this are complex and varied but parents could be part of the answer - apparently, although parents think that engineering sounds like a good career choice for their children, only 1 in 4 of them claim to know what engineers actually do!
So, all you engineers out there, you need to spread the word and help educate the public (including your mums, dads and children) about the wonderful world of engineering!