It’s no secret that the Engineering industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage on an unprecedented level. There are few sectors harder hit than Civil Engineering, topping the UK Visa Bureau Shortage Occupation List for the Engineering and Construction sectors.
The number of young people entering the industry is far exceeded by the number of positions waiting to be filled with the job vs skills gap at 41% compared to the 23% average for other industries. The Institute of Civil Engineers suggesting in their 2015 skills report that by 2020 the UK will require 450,000 more science, engineering and technology (SET) technicians to fill the gap.
A shortage in skills effects the ability of the UK’s Engineering and Construction companies to perform competitively and compromises its ability to deliver future projects.
Reasons for the shortage
For many the fact is that an Engineering position often is taken to mean being out in all kinds of weather doing hard graft. While this is obviously not the case with all Civil Engineering jobs the issue of comfort is going to be on the minds of young people when weighing up whether they should study Engineering or pursue another path that might lead to sitting in a nice, warm office.
Another factor is the lack of apprenticeships on offer. Engineering firms are offering a low number of apprenticeships to young people at the moment with a growing number choosing to upskill existing members of staff to fill skill gaps in their organisation. Naturally this leaves many attempting to enter the Civil Engineering industry without a foothold to get their career started.
There is also a very small number of young women and girls looking to enter the industry with only 6% of Engineering and Technician roles occupied by women. This is partly due to the long standing and outdated perception that engineering is more appropriate for men than women and partly because most drives to encourage young people to study Engineering related subjects are aimed at the male population.
The industry must work to increase perception of careers in Civil Engineering for young people, increase engagement for those who have studied the subject and do more to appeal to young women and girls in order to attract enough new candidates to hope to fill the current skills shortage.
Are you looking for a Civil Engineering position but struggling to find the right role? James Gray Recruitment have a number of Civil Engineering vacancies ready to be filled. Browse our open vacancies or contact us for more information.