It’s impossible to overstate just how important the engineering sector is to the UK’s economy. Employing19% of the UK’s total workforce, these skilled professionals are responsible for improving our infrastructure, paving the way for a more interconnected future and using today’s developments to shape the way in which we live tomorrow.
However, engineering is also undergoing somewhat of a revolution. With key new technological advancements making their way onto the scene, sustainable building becoming ever more popular, and the political and economic landscape facing turbulent times ahead, it’s impossible that these trends will not affect recruitment, too. The types of jobs that both skilled and entry-level engineers can look to secure are changing; indeed, a career in engineering has never been so full of opportunity.
Here’s what’s on the horizon:
Plugging the skills gap
The skills shortage in the engineering sector has been well-documented, especially in recent years. Though a career in engineering is more in demand than ever, a massive shortfall of engineers has been plaguing the industry for a while. In fact, the government recently estimated that to close the skills gap, they would need to hire a massive186,000 more workersevery year, all the way until 2024.
That’s not all: the shortfall of graduates heading into engineering every year stands at a whopping 20,000, and up to 62% of employers say that these graduates don’t have the right skills for the workforce. To try and counteract this, the government has declared 2018 the ‘Year of Engineering’, aimed at encouraging more people into the sector than ever before by encouraging ‘STEM’ subjects within schools. In addition, many engineering companies are turning to apprenticeships and internships to encourage school leavers into the sector.
For entry-level candidates wanting to start their career, therefore, there’s no better time to do so than now; however, for skilled engineers, the picture is a little more obscure. The skills shortage permeates every level of the engineering industry, and the demand for skilled engineers is strong: indeed, by 2024, it has estimated that 54% of the workforce will require Level 4+ qualifications.
The value of high-level jobs is becoming ever more apparent, and many skilled engineers are using the skills shortage as an excuse to enter the workforcein the search of new jobs, creating an influx of fresh talent within the engineering sector. For the ambitious engineer wanting to climb the ladder, there’s no better time to do so than now, however, the influx of professionals looking for new opportunities means that competition to make it to the top will likely be fierce.
According to EngineeringUK, the sectors that are growing the fastest within engineering are information and communication, steam and air conditioning, construction, and mining. Though these industries employ hundreds of thousands of people, the trend towards automation and connectivity, especially Big Data and the Internet of Things, is growing the fastest. Indeed, it’s expected to add£322bn to the British economy by 2020.
It’s no surprise as to why. Big Data has the potential to change every facet of engineering, especially with the introduction of BIM, or Building Information Modelling: an intelligent 3D modelling system that lets engineers design, test and analyse new designs on a virtual system. BIM lets you use intelligent workflows to manage every stage of the building process, from construction through to handover.
Another innovation which is fast gaining steam is the Industrial Internet of Things, an interconnected network of appliances, devices, and sensors that will let engineers monitor every stage of the design and construction process, creating a ‘smarter’ way of monitoring progress. Given that $6tn will be spenton IoT solutions between 2015-2020, the implications for recruitment are clear. We’re starting to see an increased demand for roles in software engineering, Information Technology and even for BIM-specific jobs, which will only increase as technology within engineering takes off.
That’s not all when it comes to new technologies, though: with sustainabilitybecoming a real trend within the construction industry, and within engineering at large, the pressure is on for engineers to come up with smart, innovative new processes to reduce waste and use resources efficiently. Combined with increasing global investment in renewables, it’s clear that demand for skilled engineersis going to soar over the next decade or so.
New projects on the horizon
The UK is not short of ambitious new projects to get involved in, both for entry-level and seasoned professionals. High Speed 2 is set to break ground in 2026, and will be a major new project that will likely attract railway engineers across the country; for those working in energy, the build for Hinkley Point C is also going ahead, promising a fresh power source that will supply millions of homes with power. There’s even something for civil engineers to get stuck into, as Battersea Power Station is currently being redesigned as an urban shopping centre. Employing up to 3,000 workers on-site and employing the latest sustainable building techniques to reduce its impact upon the environment, it’s a project that will encompass civil engineers, construction engineers and more before it’s finished.
With all these new developments in the pipeline, the time is ripe for high-level professionals to make the move to a new role: one that will let you challenge yourself and make full use of your skills, in some of the most exciting and innovative projects in the UK.
Prepare for the future with Energy Resourcing
We keep our finger on the pulse of the engineering industry, so we can continue connecting the best and brightest engineers with the best jobs in the market. Whether you’re entry-level or a seasoned professional, why wait? Take a look at our jobs and start your journey with us today.