A surging confidence in UK economic recovery

At Matchtech we have been overwhelmed by this year’s number of survey responses: over 3,500 engineers provided their perception on the current state of industry.  The findings from this year’s survey paint a picture of surging confidence in UK enterprise, on the back of major investment in infrastructure projects and Government calls for a rebalancing of the economy towards engineering.

Looking ahead, engineers expect 2015 to bring growing order books and employment, with three-fifths (61%) of those surveyed saying they are confident their employer will grow its revenues and income in the coming year. Additionally, more than half (56%) of engineers told us they are confident the UK will continue to be a leader within global engineering.

This is all good news for the industry as it looks to consolidate the recovery it has made from the global economic slowdown. Indeed, the 2014 Confidence Index has been conducted against a background of major change and investment in UK economy. For example, The National Infrastructure Plan has seen the Government pledge £375 billion to fund major capital projects, including Crossrail (currently Europe’s largest civil engineering project). Equally we are seeing significant investment in the next wave of power generation infrastructure, including renewable energy, with more to come.

In industry, advanced manufacturing is also showing strong growth, with the UK’s automotive sector among the most productive in the world and investment being made by domestic manufacturers and overseas firms in rail manufacturing, industrial machinery and equipment, and aerospace technology. All these growth industries are united by their need for engineers and engineering skills.

The Government has also pledged to offer more support for UK manufacturing in a bid to create what George Osborne described as a ‘March of the Makers’, reviving industry to power the recovery.

This investment and on-going growth in the UK engineering industry means the majority of engineers expect their employers to see revenues and income grow next year, with 43% expecting their organisation will hire more people and 45% expecting to see an increase in work with overseas clients.

While this is good for engineers it also reveals an issue that the wider engineering industry needs to address; that of the skills shortage. An overwhelming 95% of engineers believe there is a skills shortage in the UK, demonstrating the scale of the concern.

While there is a lot of noise about the skills gap, engagement with the current and emerging engineering community is essential to ensure the workforce is retained and continues to grow.

The Confidence Index report provides valuable insight into current perceptions held by engineers and how specific sectors compare to the overall engineering industry.

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