This is the 11th Engineering and Technology Skills and Demand in Industry report produced by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) – our annual review of issues facing UK employers of engineering and IT staff.
We surveyed employers before and after the referendum to gauge their views on Brexit and how it may impact on recruitment. The good news is that this report points to continued strong high demand for new engineering and technology staff and greater optimism amongst employers that they will be able to recruit sufficiently qualified staff. However, there is deeper concern than in previous years around the skills, knowledge and experience of the future workforce – postgraduates, graduates, school leavers and apprentices. One of the biggest challenges appears to be in recruiting candidates with sufficient work experience. Many employers are reporting that the content of engineering and technology degrees does not suit the needs of their organisation because the courses don’t develop practical skills or practical work experience. We investigate whether employers are offering work experience and whether this should be made compulsory to improve the pool of engineering talent. We also ask employers about the forthcoming apprentice levy and, worryingly, over half say they don’t know how the apprentice levy can benefit their organisation.
The findings are based on telephone interviews with over 400 employers of engineering and technology staff drawn from across the United Kingdom undertaken in June 2016.