The Government has put its weight behind a report which highlights a major shortfall in the number of engineers being recruited by the industry.
The report by EngineeringUK says the number of engineering recruits needs to double each year until 2020 to meet expected demand.
“Engineering is fundamental to the UK’s economic progress, so it’s critical that we ensure there are enough skilled people to meet demand,” said business minister Michael Fallon.
Engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings from 2010 to 2020, 1.86 million of which will need engineering skills.
Of these, approximately 87,000 per year will require people with degree (including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate) qualifications.
Currently the UK produces only 46,000 engineering graduates each year.
“We’re continuing to look at various ways to support engineering at all levels, such as engagement in schools, apprenticeships and postgraduate training including engineering doctorates,” said Fallon.
“There is a need to double the numbers of young people studying GCSE physics as part of triple science, grow the numbers of students studying physics A level and provide robust and consistent careers information that promotes the diversity of engineering careers available and the variety of routes to those careers,” said EngineeringUK chief executive, Paul Jackson.
“Job prospects in engineering are a good news story. It is crucial, however, that Government, business, professional bodies, education and the wider engineering community continue to work together to ensure that the UK has the talent pipeline ready to meet demand,” said Jackson.
There will also be demand for around 69,000 people qualified at advanced apprenticeship or equivalent level each year. Yet only around 27,000 UK apprentices a year currently qualify at the appropriate level.
See also: MPs told to address status of engineers in UK
The launch of the report at No. 11 Downing Street included Alstom Ltd, Arup Group Trust, Aston University, Avingtrans plc, BAA Airports Ltd, Costain Group plc, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, EngineeringUK, E.ON UK plc, Finmeccanica UK Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline plc, JCB World Headquarters, Mondelez, National Grid, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, Olympic Delivery Authority, Rolls-Royce plc, The Royal Academy of Engineering, Shell International Ltd, Siemens plc, and Talk Talk.
According to the report, the engineering sector had a turnover of £1.06 trillion in the year ending March 2011, representing 23.9% of the turnover of all UK business.
Engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings from 2010 – 2020; 1.86 million of these will need engineering skills.
The average starting salary for engineering and technology graduates is £25,762. This is 15.7% above the average for all graduates.
Engineering technicians, with an average salary of £34,018.