This is the 12th 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.
This year’s report has been written and published against the backdrop of unprecedented change in the UK’s economic landscape and further challenges ahead. Chief among these is the decision to leave the European Union (EU), which will not only alter our trading relationships with the rest of Europe, but will also have an impact on the flow of engineering talent into the UK.
However, while Brexit appears to garner the majority of attention in the day-to-day national debate, it is not the only issue occupying the minds of employers of engineers and technicians. The digital transformation of production and supply chains in our sector means businesses must think hard about the impact it will have on the kind of jobs and skills they need for the future.
Meanwhile, organisations continue to grapple with the challenge of finding and retaining the right people, with the right skills, to ensure they take advantage of the robust demand for their products and services. This report looks in depth at employers’ attitudes and responses to these and other challenges.
As you will see, it shows a sector which is optimistic about its ability to thrive in the future but deeply concerned about the continuing shortage of people with the right skills and capability to do the jobs which are being created.
With the concern around skills supply showing no signs of going away, it is critical that as a sector we commit to taking steps which will avoid this becoming an intractable problem.
For this reason, our recommendations in this edition of our Skills Survey focus entirely on the actions that we believe employers, educators and government must take to develop and attract more diverse applicants and help prepare young people for the demands of working life.