106 Communications

6th Sense

Engineering skills gap: is the answer better engagement?

December 2014 | Diversity, Employee Engagement, Employer Brand, Engineering, Sectors


In the UK, we are told that engineering talent will become increasingly scarce.  Yet there’s still graduate engineering unemployment.  We are told that there aren’t enough female engineers.  Yet, according to the IET, 45% of firms don’t have a diversity strategy.  We can see an ageing engineering population.  Yet how many companies are looking at how to use this wealth of experience for future generations?

Of course, it’s welcome that the government is investing more in science and engineering teachers – and that will help, along with more employer activity in schools.  But what can employers do now to attract and hold on to talent?  Our infographic  spells out some of the key challenges and opportunities, identified in the UK and US in particular.  (You can find a more detailed version here (106_Engineeringv2), with a more in-depth commentary.)

But there’s also a wider international context to take into account.  In 2012, Accenture predicted that Brazil would increase its engineering graduates by 68% by 2015.  In China, it is estimated that 41% of all degrees are STEM-related; compared to 22% in the UK.  Despite this, in Europe STEM student numbers are dropping and the number of scientists, for example, that are attracted to the region is significantly lower than the number of non-US scientists who go to work there.  So not only is education a problem; potentially we don’t attract skilled migrants.

So there’s a potential mismatch that could make things harder for employers.  Worse case, engineering firms go and relocate elsewhere for critical skills.

Yet there is still no getting away from the fact that there are skills here in the UK.  Maybe we just need to engage them better…


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