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Shortage of engineers could restrict global growth

29/03/2018
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Global economic growth could be threatened if the rising gap between demand for and supply of engineers is not addressed a new report by the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering warns.

The findings in the Create the Future report highlight the integral part that engineering plays in driving economic growth, with a clear increase in demand for engineers in many countries.
The report asked more than 10,000 people across 10 countries for their views on a range of engineering issues.
The report asked more than 10,000 people across 10 countries for their views on a range of engineering issues. The findings are instructive. Markets including the UK (63%), US (59%), China (63%), Germany (62%), and South Africa (67%) all stated demand for skilled engineers was higher than the supply. The report also reveals that overall more than half of those polled (53%) felt there was a demand for skilled engineers that wasn’t being matched by supply.

The increasing influence of engineers

Whilst there are concerns about a lack of skilled engineers, the report does contain some very positive news regarding the public perception of the engineering profession. At a time when trust in many professions is diminishing, the status of engineering is in the ascendancy. To quote the report:

“The diverse nature of current global challenges means that engineering is now regarded as being more important to the world than ever before. And engineers themselves are trusted to help meet those challenges: 87% say they trust engineering businesses to make the world a better place.”

“Indeed, engineers globally are seen as having as much influence as politicians in solving major world challenges, ahead of, for example, scientists and NGO representatives: a total of 84% say engineering can make a difference in addressing those issues. In particular, the public puts their faith in engineers to help solve challenges around energy and the environment, including improving energy efficiency, improving renewable energy sources and reducing air pollution.”

“It’s not just in helping to protect the future of the planet that engineers are trusted to make a difference. They are also seen as being second only to business leaders in helping to promote the global economy: 60% see engineering as being the career that is most vital for growth, while 88% feel engineering is a valuable industry for the economy.”
Whilst there is a current lack of skilled engineers to fill demand, the report does highlight that the profession is seen as a stable and fruitful career.
Inspiring the next generation of engineers

Whilst there is a current lack of skilled engineers to fill demand, the report does highlight that the profession is seen as a stable and fruitful career. More than three quarters of those surveyed view it as a prestigious career: over 80% say it provides good job stability, or good earning power.

In order to inspire the next generation of engineers, the report recommends four key steps that need to be taken:

  • Establish a single, unified voice across the profession.

  • Target engagement towards under-represented audiences.

  • Push for education reform.

  • Raise the public profile of engineering through celebrity.

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    Tags: Engineering
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    Shortage of engineers could restrict global growth - Time to read 3 min
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