Skip to comments.UK's Demand for Engineers Far Exceeds Current Supply
Posted on 05/12/2014 5:38:32 AM PDT by thackney
The oil and gas industry continues to play a vital role in the United Kingdoms economy influencing$33 billion in direct economic contributions an increase of $4 billion compared with 2011, according to Energy UK, a trade association for the industry. The sector also continues to be a large and consistent employer, directly employing 125,000 people in 2012 compared with 90,000 in 2008; while supporting an estimated 539,000 jobs through supply chain activities for a total of 664,000 or 1 in 45 UK jobs in 2012.
With business confidence and investment in the industry growing, an estimated 20,000 more jobs will be created in the North Sea in 2014, making the skills shortage even more pressing, according to Aquaterra Energy Ltd., an engineering firm. The number of graduate vacancies in the UK is set to increase by 10.2 percent in 2014, stated the Association of Graduate Recruiters, with the biggest growth sectors including energy, banking, Information Technology (IT) and telecommunications.
Moreover, government statistics show that there will be demand for around 87,000 graduate engineers each year for the next 10 years in the UK but the country is only producing 46,000 engineering graduates every year.
Four out of five manufacturers are experiencing recruitment difficulties, according to EEF, the manufacturers organization for UK manufacturing companies; with two-thirds of those saying this is because candidates lack technical skills. This exasperated problem threatens to stifle companies growth plans, the organization noted.
The knowledge that demand for graduate engineers in the UK far exceeds the current supply is a major concern, stated Patrick Phelan, managing director of Aquaterra Energy. Small and medium enterprises will find that there just simply arent enough graduates to go around. Unless we address this as a priority, the issue will continue into the long-term, with real and lasting negative impacts on our industry.
The government is trying to tackle the problem by funding more apprenticeships, noted Energy UK. From 2010-11, annual apprentice recruitment increased from 970 to 1,430. While also encouraging more young people and women to choose a career in the industry and investing millions in university facilities and teaching.
But many are questioning if this approach is enough to meet the growing gap between demand for and supply of engineers. The CBI, the UKs largest business lobby, asked for university fees to be reduced from some science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses, while other groups are pressing the chancellor for more grants to encourage small companies to hire apprentices.
While much collaborative work has been undertaken by industry, government and education, we are just not achieving the results the industry needs at the pace we need them, Phelan noted. Our company has doubled its annual turnover in the last two years and our workforce has grown by 40 percent in that time. The challenge, industry-wide, for specialist engineering companies like ours, is how to sustain this level of growth without adequate numbers of young graduates to fuel it.
The answer, he stresses, is retention and education.
Retention is about good strategic recruitment and ensuring that we not only find people with the right skill set but also with the right personality and cultural fit. While there are many rewards for bright engineers in our industry, these will only be realized through hard work and hands-on experience, so its important to recruit with the right level of determination and commitment to want to stay the course.
Phelan was a key player in the development of the governments Industrial Strategy, an initiative to bridge the skills gap and ensure continued growth for the oil and gas industry. The action plan, issued in March 2013, outlines how ex-military personnel with the relevant transferable skills can be retrained, enabling them to be redeployed within the industry. Another initiative Phelan discussed is the need to map the skills shortage and perform skills gap analysis in order to provide the data to more closely match shortages with actions to generate suitable candidates.
The government clearly has a responsibility to ensure that academic institutions understand the requirements of employers, so by bringing industry and the government together, not only at the council level, but at sub-committee levels as well, there is certainly a more joined up approach than before, he added.
As for education, Phelan also noted that schools have an important role to play in closing the engineering gap, with gender inequality in academic subjects still a major issue throughout education. Only a fifth of the girls who get an A in physics in General Certificate of Secondary Education go on to study the subject at A-levels, compared with half of the boys in the same position, according to data from the Department of Education and Institute of Physics.
Engineering isnt taught in schools and teachers, with no hands-on industrial experience themselves, are therefore understandably ill equipped to advise students on its potential as a career choice. We need to educate the teachers and careers advisers so that they can provide accurate information and encourage able students to aim high in STEM subjects. Teachers should be encouraged to get out into the engineering workplace to experience for themselves what the industry offers.
Oil & Gas Lives: Working in Aberdeen
Aberdeen, Scotland, is currently a major hub of oil and gas activity, serving not only the North Sea region but projects in other parts of Europe and beyond. Consequently it has attracted oil and gas talent from all over the globe. Here, Rigzone gets the views of four oil and gas professionals from the United States, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria about living and working in the city.
Offer more money and you will have more engineers...
Rates have been climbing.
That is so capitalist of you. Can't we all just contribute in whatever way we want? From each according to our ability, to each according to our need? That's what Obama stands for, and ObamaCare is a step in that direction because it frees so many people from "job lock" where they have to deliver value that can be measured with money.
Taxes are crazy high in the UK.
Having been in engineering and or technology for 30+ years the pay is totally out of whack. What HR dept’s are good at is raising the starting salaries to be inline with inflation. But the CURRENT employees never get a cola. So after about five years you make the same as someone starting new. So the only way to get a raise is to find a new job and quit. This causes a drain on corporate knowledge and undo stress.
That has always been the way. Companies seem to be unwilling to do very much to keep good employees, they prefer to lose them and go look for another.
One other thing I never understood was the idea that someone who works part time should be paid at a lower rate than a full time employee. Since part timers generally do not receive fringe benefits and are only paid when actually needed I would be willing to pay the part time person MORE money per hour worked.
Before I learned the system I was working for about 5 years or so. I got involved with training some new grad engineers. Which is fine. Then I find out the new college grads were making more than me. It was an eye opener. I was getting 3-4% merit raises and they(HR) were doing the same to the starting salaries. I was going backwards.
I once had an engineering department head tell me he could not match an offer I received from another company; he could not give me a raise that large due to company rules.
But he was allowed to hire me off the street, with the same experience I had at that rate.
He was allowed to pay that much to someone they didn’t know, but not to someone who was already there.
Must be the rebirth of the rail industry.
I hope you quit and took a few with you.
I was a youngster, a few years into the business.
But I received a 50% raise in leaving a big corporation and going to work for a previous boss at a small private firm.
I left one company and got 4 guys jobs with my new employer. I received 5k per referral. So I got a new car and a 15% raise by leaving. HR departments are the pits. I hate them.
He was allowed to pay that much to someone they didnt know, but not to someone who was already there.
This is typical corporate behavior that I tried to work around when I was a line manager. Sometimes I was successful, but most of the time I was not.
I find my priorities and way of thinking fit better at smaller private owned firms not tied by such policies.
I thout the Muzzies were all superior to whitey. Afterall liberals love to tell us all the wonderful contributions made by islam.
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