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UK engineering industry shows signs of growth

“Employment opportunities for engineers have never been better. At present, the engineering industry only has half of the candidates it needs to supply its specialist sectors,” says Shane O’Donovan, sales manager at Capital International Staffing.

“During the second half of 2013, Capital International Staffing experienced an 18% increase in customer skill requirements. And on average, existing clients required 4.26 new engineers during the second half of 2013 compared to 3.62 engineers during the first half.”

With the UK experiencing a significant shortage of available talent in the engineering sector, Capital International Staffing has seen a new trend in demand for freelance skills during H2 2013, with the number of permanent staffing requirements during 2013 decreasing by 8%.

“During the first six months of 2013, 60.84% of all customer requirements were on a temporary or freelance basis, rising to 68.16% during H2 as customers looked to deliver critical projects,” says O’Donovan.

In the three decades that Capital International Staffing has been involved in the engineering sector, 2013 has seen an important turning point for the engineering industry.

“The government-commissioned Perkins Report published in November has helped to highlight the significant issues facing the industry, and has offered positive, practical ways of encouraging new talent into the sector.”

The Perkins Report underlines the critical shortage of engineers in the UK and the impact this problem will have on the nation’s ability to compete in the global market, citing the UK’s reliance on inward migration for engineering skills with immigrants (EEA and non-EEA) accounting for 20% of professionals in strategically important sectors such as oil and gas extraction, aerospace, and computer, electronic and optical engineering.

“Capital International has experienced another interesting trend this year, seeing a 47% increase in demand for freelance skills during 2013 within the German Software Engineering sector,” says Shane. “Demand is up within Defence, Aerospace and Automotive sectors.”

Ahead of the lifting of EU movement controls for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, Capital International has also seen an increase in applications from engineers residing within the latest EU member states. During Q4 2013, Capital International placed 8 Romanian nationals on a freelance basis within major European Engineering projects, all of whom will be deployed in January 2014 when all working restrictions are lifted.

“The industry is expected to continue suffering a lack of engineers for at least the next decade, so students who choose to take an engineering career path now are almost certainly guaranteed employment and excellent salary packages.” 

Early in the New Year, Capital International Staffing is launching the & lsquo;Create the World You Want’ education initiative to encourage pre-GCSE students to consider engineering as a career path.

“James Dyson recently said he had 2,000 jobs available for engineers, yet he would be surprised if he managed to recruit 300 of those from the UK[1]. The shortage of engineers in this country is critical and we need to do something about that now,” adds Shane.

“We have a duty to inspire students before they reach their GCSEs, when choices are already made and options are closed off. We need purposeful and effective early intervention to enthuse tomorrow’s engineers.”

The & lsquo;Create the World You Want’ campaign launches in schools across Sussex in January 2014. 

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