Engineering skills in high demand
A skills survey carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has revealed that businesses are finding it harder to recruit engineers than in 2011.
The report, which surveyed 400 organisations in the UK to gauge the state of skills in the engineering and technology sector, found that there was demand for new recruits, but that employers were struggling to find staff.
While 58% of organisations planned to recruit new staff in the next 12 months, 29% of respondents said they did not expect to be able to recruit suitably qualified engineers and technicians to meet their needs this year. The survey also found that the confidence level had dropped by 16% since 2011.
The two key reasons for this were slated as a lack of suitably qualified candidates and the fact that candidates lacked the right experiences.
The biggest skills gap among new recruits was said to be a lack of practical experience, with 31% of organisations reporting that graduates did not have sufficient practical experience.
In addition, the survey found that, of the entire UK engineering workforce, only 6% are female. As if this weren't disheartening enough, the research also revealed that, despite recent efforts to encourage women into the profession, this figure has only risen by 1% since 2008.
Stephanie Fernandes, IET principal policy advisor for education and skills, commented: "The engineering sector has enjoyed a renaissance recently, playing such a central role in enabling a successful Olympic Games. The sector is of huge importance to the economy, typically accounting for a quarter of all turnover in the UK. This new research clearly shows a desire by employers to recruit new staff, but that they are struggling to find the right people.
"The planned recruitment is clearly good news, suggesting increased confidence in the economic outlook, but if firms are unable to fill their vacancies the economy will continue to shrink."
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