23 Jul 2024


UK engineering firms: graduates don’t have the right skills

Engineering graduates don’t have the right skills for today’s workplace, according to 62% of the 400 engineering employers across the UK quizzed by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for its 2016 Skills and Demand in Industry report.

When asked about the effect of Brexit, 35% of the companies predicted that the UK’s departure from the EU would have a negative impact on their recruitment over the next four to five years, with just 5% expecting a positive impact.

The annual report, now in its eleventh year, also reveals that:

•  52% of employers are currently seeking new engineering and technology recruits;

•  57% are currently, or have recently, experienced problems recruiting senior engineers with 5–10 years’ experience;

•  50% find that a typical new engineering and technology recruit does not meet their expectations;

•  76% feel that compelling all engineering and technology companies to provide work experience would improve the pool of engineering talent; and that

•  53% don’t know how the apprentice levy can benefit their organisation.

More than two-thirds (68%) of the employers surveyed were worried that the education system will struggle to keep up with the skills required for technological change.

And the vast majority (91%) feel that to improve the supply of engineers and technicians, more employers will need to provide work experience for those in education or training. 

In response, the IET has launched a new campaign called Engineering Work Experience for All which will champion the need for employers and universities to collaborate more closely to offer quality work experience to engineering students.

“Demand for engineers is high, but the report reveals deeper concern than ever around the skills and experience of our future workforce,” says the IET’s recently retired president, Naomi Climer. “As we are facing an engineering shortfall in the next decade and some uncertainty around skills following Brexit, it is more important than ever that we develop the next generation of home-grown engineering and technology talent.

“One of the biggest challenges appears to be recruiting candidates with the right practical skills,” she adds, “which is why the IET is launching a new campaign to highlight the benefits of employers offering quality work experience to engineering students. Employers and educators must continue to strengthen their working relationships to ensure that the work experience they offer is designed with the skills gaps in mind.”