UK Engineering 2015
Engineering in the UK continues to thrive in 2015 as the demand for skilled employees to undertake large and small scale projects grows. As we move further into the 21st century the government and industry are driving skills growth to ensure that Britain retains its place at the forefront of technological advancement in a global marketplace. The diversity of needs across sectors means that demand remains high and the future is bright for job seekers.
In the recent Engineering UK report Vince Cable highlighted that the government expects engineering to contribute £27bn per year to the UK economy every year from 2022. The signs are looking good with a 2% rise in engineering businesses in the 12 months up to March 2013 and engineering companies employing roughly a fifth of the overall UK workforce.
UK Engineering Sectors
There are a number of sectors helping to drive the engineering pipeline in the UK:
Automotive - car and automobile manufacture accounts for approximately 3% of UK GDP and employs 731,000 people.
Aerospace - Perhaps surprisingly the UK Aerospace industry is second only to the US in global market share. UK aerospace supports 100,000 jobs as well as 131,000 more in its supply chain.
Space - The space sector is one of the fastest growing in the UK with an average growth rate of 7.5%. Already employing 28,900 people the industry is expected to grow significantly by 2030.
Renewables - As ambitious carbon reduction targets continue to push the governments energy strategies the continued growth in wind, tidal and wave energy is integral. Currently 34,500 people are employed in the industry with an aim of creating another 70,000 jobs in the next decade.
Shale Gas - Shale gas or Fracking as it’s also known has become a very prominent issue in the UK and the expectation is that once production is fully engaged it could generate up to 74,000 jobs.
Manufacturing - British manufacturing is certainly alive and kicking and reshoring of production to the UK has created 10,000 jobs in the last two years. The potential for reshoring could create between 100,000-200,000 vacancies in the next decade.
Other sectors which also continue to see significant rise in demand for engineers include construction, biosciences, chemicals, creative industries, advanced materials, electronics, agri-tech, rail and big data.
In order to remain at the forefront of engineering developments the UK is also investing heavily in its intellectual knowledge base. UK Researchers are producing 11.9% of all citations and 15.9% of the most highly cited articles. The UK currently ranks 1st of all G8 countries for citations per billion dollars of GDP.
2015 has already seen some great developments in the UK engineering sector. In Swansea a number of British companies have secured contracts to develop turbines producing tidal energy as part of a £1bn project. Universal Engineering has announced the creation of 200 engineering jobs in Wales following a £2m Welsh government business finance support package and international engineering firm Jacobs has announced plans to locate new offices in Birmingham close to the site of the HS2 rail link.
Future Demand – Career in Engineering
The challenge for industry of course is still the recruitment of suitably qualified engineers to undertake roles. Engineering companies are much more likely to have problems recruiting into the roles than the national average. Almost half of engineering companies surveyed by Employer Skills Survey said that they had delayed the development of products or services due to the lack of suitably qualified candidates.
There really is no better time to start a career in engineering and to advance in engineering jobs. Demand for engineers will be high throughout the next ten years as many leave engineering through retirement. As a result 2.56m jobs are expected to be created in this time, including 257,000 new roles.
The government is offering apprenticeship grants to small and medium sized businesses across the UK to encourage them to recruit and train young engineers. Furthermore the Technology Strategy Board is launching a £400m fund to support the best of UK entrepreneurial talent in engineering. Finally roles in engineering come with higher than average salary expectations with mean salaries for UK graduates within the first six months at £26,536 topped only by dentistry and medicine at £31,853.