Accessability Links
By continuing to use this website we will assume you are happy to receive cookies as outlined in our cookie policy
Accept Policy
Job Search
Solutions Through

What’s the reason behind the shortage of engineers in UK?

1 Aug 14 - 4:00PM  | Engineering


Around 60 per cent of engineering employers have a problem recruiting well experienced and skilled workers, generating number of concerns about our economy’s future.

In the recent years employers are constantly struggling to find candidates with emerging technologies or manufacturing skills. Among employers there has started to appear an atmosphere of competitiveness in order to attract the recruits as it is very hard to generate them from the market.

 “Larger companies are able to take more junior or less skilled engineers and train them, but SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) in particular need the ‘finished article’ and so will feel this shortage more acutely. They will also be losing staff to larger organisations and may not have the employer profile to attract candidates.” says Mark Bignell, managing consultant from the Automotive Team at Jonathan Lee Recruitment.

But what are the reasons behind this occurrence? Well, there can be many answers:

Firstly, the studies show that the shortage of skills may not only hold back an ongoing economic recovery following 2008’s recession but also be its direct result as during these tough times a number of engineers lost their jobs transferring themselves to different sectors.

“Within the automotive sector there is a skills shortage for engineers of all disciplines.  This has been caused by the amount of R&D activity currently going on after the recession years.” states Bignell.

Secondly, because of the shortage of skills people with desired skills (e.g. manufacturing engineers) have been offered excellent conditions which give them high satisfaction and no need to look for any other job opportunities as long as competitors won’t offer anything ‘extra’.

And thirdly – the educational system in United Kingdom. Unfortunately employers accuse universities of not educating students well enough to help them prepare for work within the engineering sectors.

The industry states that young graduates have been bombarded them with a number of random, theoretical skills, instead of giving them more time for training opportunities and working schemes within the industry. That is why engineering bodies start to push universities to decrease the courses fees on subjects like science, engineering, technology IT or maths (STEM).

“Due to an ageing workforce with traditional engineering skills within the manufacturing industry twinned with the number of young people choosing these subjects post-16 being relatively low, especially amongst women, means there is a critical shortage of engineers now and for the future. As an industry as a whole we should be encouraging and supporting the UK's young people by educating them about the benefits and exciting opportunities in skilled engineering jobs whilst improving their career prospects.

"I’m encouraged to see a number of our clients developing their own Apprenticeship Schemes however from government level down we need to address this issue immediately and put forth plans to develop our own engineers and continue the UK’s great heritage of being one of the world’s leading engineering countries.” said Les Hines, recruitment consultant from the EMC Team at Jonathan Lee Recruitment.

But what does it mean for the industries which depend on of the engineer’s skills?

Right now the automotive sector isn’t the only one suffering because of the lack of a qualified force, states Matthew Heath, managing consultant - Aerospace, Defence and Aviation at JLR.

“Manufacturing Engineers in the Midlands is a challenge.  Mainly due to lack of qualified experience, but also in some cases salary expectations. Most of the work areas focused on are aerospace machining and fabrication.”, adds Heath.

Some struggling employers unable to find right candidates for their jobs decide more and more often to use professional recruitment support, offered by companies like Jonathan Lee Recruitment.


“Partnering with a recruitment company that can offer innovative solutions has access to European labour markets and has an established and trusted brand can really pay dividends.” concludes Bignell.

              engineering recruitment UK engineers Jonathan Lee Recruitment
Les Hines & Matthew Heath 


To find out more how Jonathan Lee Recruitment can help your company beat the candidates’ shortage, 
please call 01384 397 555.
Add new comment
Type the characters you see in the picture