The Engineering sector is vital to the UK’s economy; however, it is currently dealing with a skills shortage of over 170,000 skilled workers. Combine this with an annual growth rate of about 1.5-2% each year and an estimated 2.6 million new jobs in the next ten years to meet the predicted demand, and its easy to understand why experts are predicting a skills crisis.
So why aren’t young people in 2019 being enticed by Engineering careers?
One Poll for The Royal Academy of Engineers found that only 14% of 11-18 year olds asked are aware that engineering roles are prevalent in the music industry. 8% knew that food, drink and sports industries rely on the work of Engineers, and less than 16% of teens realised that You Tube and Facebook were created by engineering professionals.
The impact of these misconceptions are reinforced by the 2018 Annual Report by EngineeringUK, which revealed that there has been a 10% decrease in GCSE entries for Biology, Chemistry and Physics between 2012 and 2017 – figures that fuel concerns over the predicted skills shortage.
With these misconceptions surrounding engineering careers actively putting future potential candidates off entering the sector, we have busted a few of the most popular myths about engineering…
“Digital technology will end the need for Engineers”
While it is true that the rise in new technology is going to change the way we all work, Engineers are still going to be very much in demand and will continue to contribute to the development of technology.
The ageing workforce and the impact of Brexit are making it more important than ever to ensure that new talent is entering the industry – something that employers are well aware of with 83% of UK manufacturers admitting there’s a need to invest in staff skills in order to take advantage of developing digital technology.
“Engineers aren’t creative”
Engineering is often seen as a profession that relies solely on practical skills – but this is a complete myth.
Yes analytical skills, attention to detail and critical thinking are all important when it comes to a career in the industry, but creative thinking is just as important when working as an Engineer.
Considering that some of the pioneers of modern technology such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates started out as Engineers, the creative and inventive possibilities are endless.
“Engineering is for men”
Okay, so it may be true that Engineering is traditionally a male-dominated industry, but things are changing. In 2018 females made up 12% of UK Engineers which has almost doubled since 2008. Meanwhile companies are actively encouraging females to apply for engineering jobs and engineering apprenticeships.
Women in Engineering are recognised annually by the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards and the WISE conference and awards; showing that along with awareness days such as ‘International Women in Engineering Day’, the industry is working hard to promote STEM careers to girls and women.
Women have, infact, been integral to the development of Engineering, with some of the most significant historic pioneers being female. You can find out more about these incredible women here
“Engineering is boring and repetitive”
It seems to be a common belief that a day in the life of an Engineer is the same old same old, but when you consider that some of the world’s leading industries from music to fashion and construction to broadcasting rely on the work of Engineers, its becomes clear that it is a career with an almost endless variety opportunities!
The fastest growing sectors in engineering are chemical, petroleum, space and aerospace. It is expected that there will be a demand for approx 27,000 new commercial planes, while jobs in space engineering are growing by almost 8% annually.
“Engineers are low paid”
In 2017, it was reported that Engineering graduates earn over 22% more than graduates of other UK degrees.
Starting salaries in Engineering in are around £27,000 per annum, while those in senior roles (the top 10% of the profession) can expect to earn upwards of £110,000.
The average salary of Engineers in the UK is approximately £40,000 a year. (source; The Telegraph) . To put these figures in perspective, the national average pay in the UK is £27,607 (according to ONS).
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