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The skills gap in Engineering

by Heat Recruitment

So, where to start?

Over the past twelve months I have picked up several mid-weight Design Engineering roles mainly in the UK SME market and I have noticed that finding good quality candidates has been getting harder.

A lot of my clients would love to have between three and five good quality applicants to interview for each role but in many cases, it has realistically been a race to secure the services of the one or two individuals that fit the role profile. A good number of these placements have been from Engineers who have come from outside of the UK which really got me thinking about the future of Engineering here in the UK post-Brexit.

I read an article recently that advised Britain’s skills shortage had worsened for the fifth consecutive year and that more than half of UK graduates were working in non-graduate roles. The skills gap has worsened by 8 percent over the past five years, it found. I am always coming across CV’s of Graduates from Mechanical Engineering Degrees who have spent the past couple of years working in a role away from engineering and they have really been struggling to secure a role to kick-start their career.

Of course, there are several reasons why this could be the case but as a nation are we investing enough time and money into Graduates and giving them the chance to succeed? Are Universities reaching out to SME’s and making sure Graduates leave University with the right skills set or are they just liaising with the larger companies and prepping these candidates for Grad Schemes? I would be interested to hear from any UK companies and their thoughts on this.

As I have seen first-hand many companies are addressing the skill gap by hiring Engineers from the EU but have they put plans in place to address this post-Brexit. Will this force an increase in wages for mid to senior level engineers leaving less financial resources to invest in those starting out their careers in Engineering?

Another article I read stated that 63% of Engineers believe the skills shortage will intensify unless major reforms are urgently instituted, an additional 1.8m engineers and technically qualified people are needed by 2025. Currently, there is around a 20,000-a-year shortfall in the number of these people being produced by Britain’s education system.

With the Elections looming I am sure every Engineering business will be anxious to find out the outcome and the potential impact the new government will have on the market.

You can view all of our latest engineering jobs here.

Check out The Ultimate Guide to Engineering here.

By Dan Whitmarsh