Cause for optimism in engineering as sector grows despite challenges

News Article

Britain’s strong engineering industry is driving productivity, with benefits across the economy, according to new research published in EngineeringUK 2016: The State of Engineering. Engineering is 68 per cent more productive than the retail and wholesale sector, with apprentices making a significant contribution.

The release of the 18th State of Engineering report analyses the engineering industry’s capacity and capability for growth, showing that this resilient sector also has a positive impact on other areas of the economy.

For every new job in engineering, two more are created outside of the sector and every £1 GVA generated in engineering generates £1.45 elsewhere. However, the gap between supply and demand for people with engineering skills is still large enough to trigger widespread concern for the long term future.

More than 27 per cent of total UK GDP is generated by engineering, amounting to £445.6 billion and turnover for engineering has grown by 3.4 per cent to £1.2 trillion. Employment in engineering has grown to over 5.5 million and the industry now supports 14.5 million jobs overall.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, says: ‘Engineering is a growth industry that has the potential to continue to drive productivity in the UK. This is a great opportunity, tempered only by concern about the need to train many more in engineering, if we are not to be left behind by countries like South Korea and Germany’.

Nick Boles MP, Minister of State for Skills, says: ‘These shortages are compounded by insufficient numbers of young people, especially girls, choosing a career in engineering. I am convinced we will only overcome these challenges if all those with an interest in UK engineering commit to greater collaboration and partnership.’

On behalf of the engineering community, not for profit organisation, EngineeringUK, has called for collaborative action across government, engineering businesses, the education sector and the wider engineering community to realise these recommendations:

  • A doubling of the number of young people studying GCSE physics as part of triple sciences.
  • A two-fold increase in the number of Advanced Apprenticeship achievements.
  • A doubling of the number of engineering and technology and other related STEM and non-STEM graduates who are known to enter engineering occupations.
  • Provision of careers inspiration for all 11-14 year olds.
  • Support for teachers and careers advisors delivering careers information. 

Adam Davis, a Palmers partner who specialises in construction and engineering law, said: “This latest report gives cause for optimism. However the long-term prospects of the sector are largely dependent upon the challenge of future workforce shortages and everyone involved in this sector needs to work together to promote awareness that UK engineering is an attractive and exciting career opportunity.”

To find out how our experience of the Construction and Engineering sector can help you, please contact us.”