Engineers are powering the UK economy

This week EngineeringUK published their 2016 report on the state of engineering in the UK. As ever, the annual flagship report provides a data-rich account of the contribution the engineering industry makes to the UK economy, an update on the status of the skills shortage and recommendations of how to mitigate the challenges the industry faces.

Whilst the overriding themes remain the same as last year’s report, the new data offers an updated view of the industry and details some noticeable shifts in perceptions of the industry.
Below, I’ve highlighted the standout outcomes of the report:

Engineering is vital to the UK’s economy

With engineering contributing £455.6 billion to the UK economy in 2014, the industry is clearly valuable. To further highlight the influence it has on the economy, for every £1 in Gross Value Added (GVA) generated by engineering sectors, a further £1.45 is generated elsewhere in the economy. But the value of the industry is more than just financial. What this report makes clear is the impact that engineering has on the wider economy such as the jobs market; for every job created in engineering, two more jobs are created in the wider market.

Engineering is one of the most productive industries

Engineering sectors produce the majority of the UK’s exports and help ensure the nation remains competitive internationally by investing in research and development. To put this into perspective, the industry generates around 27% of total UK GDP. When you consider the breadth of output the industry delivers, it is impossible to imagine a world without engineering.

The future of engineering looks just as significant. According to EngineeringUK’s calculations, the industry is expected to generate £608.1 billion in GDP by 2022; that’s an increase of 33%.

The engineering community needs to continue making a difference

The report confirms the extent of the skills shortage that remains. As one of the top five most in-demand sectors for permanent placements in 2015, the engineering industry continues to experience disequilibrium in the levels of demand and supply. EngineeringUK’s analysis of the market indicates an annual shortfall of 69,000 relevantly-skilled people entering engineering occupations.

The report also highlights other factors which are hindering the progress of the industry such as a lack of diversity within the engineering workforce and a shortage of relevantly-qualified STEM teachers who are instrumental in educating the engineering workforce of the future.

The good news is that the efforts of the engineering community are paying off. One example of this is the improved perceptions of engineering amongst 11-14 year olds. Today, 43% of 11-14 year olds believe that a career in engineering is desirable, when just five years ago, only 27% felt this way.

Final thoughts

Clearly, the industry has some long-term barriers to overcome but in the short-term it is great to see the hard work of the engineering industry being recognised. As a corporate member of EngineeringUK, Matchtech fully supports the aims of the organisation. We will continue to promote the contribution that engineering makes to the economy and help amplify the voice of the engineering community.

As a not-for-profit organisation, EngineeringUK’s committed approach to producing this publication year after year is commendable. The report provides the engineering community with a valuable benchmark of the progress being made in the industry and offers practical recommendations for how we can continue to move forward.

To view the full report, click here.

Top in News & insights

Back to top