Employers 'must do more' to address skills shortage

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Employers struggling to recruit engineers with the right skills must tackle the problem themselves and not rely on external sources to do so, according to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

An industry report released by the IET this week reveals that almost a quarter of companies have no plans to recruit the staff they need. A third say they don't engage with the education system because they see no benefit in doing so. "Companies tell us that they are recruiting for business expansion and diversification, but this will be put in jeopardy if they cannot encourage engineers to join them," commented IET president Prof Andy Hopper (pictured). "There are some very good examples of companies getting involved in local schools and working with colleges, but our report indicates a large minority of companies who do nothing. They know they will have difficulty recruiting the engineers they need but expect someone else will sort it out for them. "You wouldn't leave it to chance to provide the materials, finance or machinery that you need. Why hope someone else will supply your most important asset that is your people?" The report also highlights the lack of women entering the profession (only 7% of the current workforce is female). Even more worrying is the statistic that the average age of the engineering workforce continues to increase, with 56% over the age of 40.