01 October 2012
Warning over shortage of engineering graduates
The UK needs to increase the number of engineering graduates it produces by as much as 50%, according to a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The findings suggest that around 1.25million science, engineering and technology (SET) professionals and technicians are needed by 2020, including a high proportion of engineers, to support the UK's economic recovery.
The analysis also shows that the combined replacement and expansion demand for SET occupations will be 830,000 SET professionals and 450,000 SET technicians, but this is merely to maintain the industry on an even keel rather than to support strong growth.
According to the Academy, the minimum number of STEM graduates required just to maintain the status quo is 100,000 a year with a further 60,000 individuals with Level 3+ (broadly equivalent to A-Level) STEM qualifications for the period 2012 to 2020.
However, only 90,000 STEM students currently graduate annually and, as around a quarter of engineering students choose non-SET occupations, there is already a shortfall.
Sir John Parker GBE FREng, president of the Academy, said: "We need an increase in the number of STEM graduates over the next 10 years in support of rebalancing the UK economy.
"I am delighted to see that the government is taking on board the message that a proper industrial strategy is essential for effective and sustained economic recovery. Only with such a framework and vision in place can we create 'the pull' that defines our future educational and skills needs. We must encourage employers to work with universities with the aim of producing more engineers."
As well as foreseeing that demand for STEM skills will exceed demand in the foreseeable future, the report highlights the under-representation of women in industry, as well as people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The full report, Jobs and growth: the importance of engineering skills to the UK economy, can be downloaded below.