UK engineering skills crisis

Women please step forward. UK engineering needs you...

Britain is currently falling very short when it comes to engineering skills. If this trend continues our technology companies will struggle to compete with their international competitors. The offshoot being that our exporting power, and in turn wealth, will decline. 


As the skills gap continues to widen, it is important that the UK taps into all available talent. The lack of women in engineering seems key to this, as currently they only make up 8.5% of the total workforce.

So despite many engineering companies supporting initiatives to recruit women and some women making it to the top of their profession, why is there still such a low number of women entering engineering?

To close the skill gap the UK has to see a 50% growth in engineering graduates coming out of university over the next 20 years.  This will be far easier to achieve if we see an upturn in women aiming for careers in this area.

The low number of women currently in engineering roles contradicts a recent study from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) that predicts women will take two-thirds of the high-skill jobs created during the next six years as their qualification levels improve quicker than mens. 

The study found that by 2020, 49% of women would have degree-level qualifications, compared to the 38% that currently do. Mens qualification levels are also set to rise, but more slowly, with the percentage of men with degree-level skills reaching just over 44% by 2020.

Other findings predicted an increase in the proportion of people in the UK holding a degree or equivalent to 48% by 2020. This would put the UK above the US and most European nations. However the proportion of the UK population with low skill levels will remain relatively high.

In a press statement, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC and a commissioner at UKCES, made the point that increased disparity between men and womens skill levels is a concern for both sexes. Men are finding it harder to get skilled jobs, while for many women their higher qualifications are not leading to better pay and jobs.

Do you have any view on this subject? Please feel free to join in the discussion. 

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Date: 11/09/2014
Source: CVWOW
Author: Matthew Holley

About the author:

Email and Digital Marketing Manager at CVWOW


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