Is The Engineering Sector Feeling Its Age?
Engineering recruitment advice and industry expertise from Reed Engineering
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the UK engineering sector is suffering from an increasingly lean talent pipeline and ageing workforce, which forecasters argue will lead to a huge shortfall in qualified engineers by 2050. According to reports, employers need to match the adventure of new government initiatives and invest in young talent before it's too late.
Many engineering companies will often favour hiring more experienced workers over newly skilled talent - the thinking being that this will save them money on training and development. In the short-term, perhaps; unfortunately, in the long-term, the ramifications for the industry as a whole could be dire.
The UK is competing with the international engineering community for its young talent. Projects in preparation for the World Cup and the Olympics in Brazil are an alluring prospect for frustrated young British engineers – the decision to move abroad for work is often an easy one for in-debt UK graduates. Indeed, since 2007 work-related migration has been on the rise, and work-related immigration has fallen. More talent leaving, and less coming in - a growing and worrying trend.
To put the scale of the problem in context, EDF will invest over £20bn in nuclear engineering over the next 15 years, though by 2025 over 70% of the UK nuclear workforce will have retired.
But, it's not all doom and gloom for the engineering sector.
Acting on a report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), labelled ‘a call to action', the UK Government have agreed to act. Prof Anthony Perkins, author of the new report, explains that ‘it is important that we act now to ensure businesses have access to the skills they require to enable them to grow.' Perkins went on to say, ‘I am calling on employers to get involved and inspire the next generation of engineers.'
Employers have a wealth of new talent to choose from, but must be willing to invest time and money in moulding this talent, rather than relying on the safer, or easier, option for the short term. The UK Government has pledged nearly £50m and has reiterated the necessity to ‘act now' if the UK is to prevent the shortfall in skills that has been predicted.
Under new Government proposals £30m will be made available to employers who want to contribute to preventing this skills shortfall by investing in young talent. Plans have been outlined to bridge the gap between educational institutions and businesses, with apprenticeships and grant schemes making it easier for employers to hire less experienced workers.
Existing cultures that have made it so difficult for young engineers are becoming extinct, and employers are reminded not to be left behind in giving opportunities to a wealth of skilled engineers just waiting to be given their chance.
To discuss your succession planning, and put steps in place to secure the next generation of engineering talent, contact your nearest Reed Engineering office today »
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