Meeting the Challenge: Demand and Supply of Engineers in the UK

In this report we outline evidence regarding current shortages of graduate engineers, highlighting the challenge of forecasting numerical demand for graduate engineers in the UK.

To ensure engineering and manufacturing play a greater role in the UK economy, it needs a future supply of engineers with the right skills, in the right place and at the right time.
Key factors affecting future supply could include changes in Higher Education funding and the increased demand for those with engineering skills from non-engineering employers.

Skill shortage is a national issue that requires coordinated solutions. A long-term partnership is needed between the government, employers and relevant support organisations with each understanding and playing its role.

Key recommendations

  1. The government should provide a vision for the nation and lead in identifying engineering skills demand and frameworks that underpin their long-term supply and use. We believe the government should:
    - Publish a clear cross-departmental vision for UK engineering skills needs that informs business, education and training planning
    - Engage the engineering community to produce a plan to raise the profile of engineering in education curriculums at all ages
    - Adapt the successful Skills for Scotland programme for the rest of the UK to contribute to skills utilisation.
  2. Engineering employers should recognise that a demand-led system brings additional responsibilities as well as potential benefits. We believe industry should:
    - Coordinate skills investment with supply chains to ensure long-term benefits for all
    - Invest in workplace and business-practice culture change to attract more young people, including more women, into engineering
    - Promote engineering and the study of subjects that lead to engineering as part of their Corporate and Social Responsibility programmes
  3. The profession and other support organisations should help identify skills needs and promote learning and skills validation. We believe the profession should:
    - Work to create more robust and reliable predictions of future skills needs
    - Create more flexible routes into engineering including those for late entrants
    - Coordinate an industry-led careers service to attract more graduates into engineering occupations


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