The IET carries out annual surveys of businesses to gauge the state of skills in the engineering and technology sector.
The 2012 survey is the seventh survey in the series and indicates that for the first time since the recession, companies have the confidence to expand their engineering workforce in the medium term. The planned recruitment is clearly good news, suggesting increased confidence in the economic outlook, but if firms are unable to fill their vacancies the economy will continue to shrink. The challenge for government, academia and industry is to ensure that this demand attracts more people through technical training into engineering. More than a third of respondents reported that new engineering, IT and technical recruits do not meet reasonable expectations for levels of skills. The biggest skills gap amongst new recruits was reported to be a lack of practical experience, especially amongst graduate employees. Notably, almost half of respondents stated they would employ more apprentices in four to five years’ time. However, the quality of apprenticeships must be ensured and need to be seen as a starting point to a successful engineering career, not just a way into a job.
This document examines the issues found in the 2012 Skills Survey and suggests actions that could be used to by government and academia.