As we head further into 2023, the technical and engineering industries are facing a serious skills shortage. With the increasing demand for qualified professionals in these sectors, it is essential to look into ways to address this issue. In this blog post, we will discuss how to tackle the skills gap across the 5 key areas within the technical and engineering industry.
What is causing the skill shortage in the technical industries?
In summary, the skill shortage has occurred due to the rapid pace of change and growth in these industries. The need for new skills and expertise is increasing faster than the rate at which people are acquiring them, creating an imbalance in supply and demand.
Furthermore, due to the specialised nature of these fields, there is often limited job security as trends come and go quickly. This can cause potential employees to be hesitant about investing time or money into developing their own specialist skillset.
The Aviation industry
The Covid-19 pandemic has been far from kind to the aviation industry with a shortage of staff due to factors such as furlough, illness, quarantine, resulting in many employees exiting the industry. This instability has led to a predicted shortage of 480,000 technicians by 2026, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation. To address this shortage, companies in the aviation industry should consider more compelling recruitment efforts and provide consistent and thorough training and development opportunities for new hires. Additionally, financing further education and providing additional assistance for engineering students could help to mitigate the shortage of skilled workers across the technical sector as a whole. Rather than focusing solely on short-term needs, businesses in the aviation industry should seriously consider the possibility of new talent and invest in their growth and development.
Automotive and F1
The automotive industry is facing challenges in terms of staff turnover and job vacancies. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, staff turnover rose to over 14% in 2020 and job vacancies increased by 40% in the first quarter of 2022, reaching a five-year high. This is leading to an upward trend in salaries, with vehicle technicians seeing an average 8% year-on-year increase.
However, the Institute of the Motor Industry has warned that the sector currently lacks the necessary skills to service and repair electric vehicles. It has called for government investment in additional training to address this gap.
In order to overcome these challenges, the automotive industry needs to focus on upskilling existing workers to ensure they can train and mentor new recruits. This will help to build a stronger skills pipeline, making the industry more resilient and better equipped to meet the demands of future technologies.
The marine industry can proactively address talent shortages by planning ahead and identifying the specialised skills and experience that will be needed for upcoming projects. As experienced marine professionals are highly sought after, it is important for businesses to anticipate their needs and to have a strategy in place to identify and level-up their workforce. Partnering with a recruitment company that understands the industry and its specific needs can help to supplement the current workforce and is essential in today's competitive labour market.
The recent crisis in the energy sector has highlighted the need for additional investment in the UK renewable energy infrastructure, leading to increased interest from companies big and small, the government, and aspiring engineers. Shockingly, Britain’s offshore wind sector requires 69,000 workers alone to meet the government's 40 GW target by 2030 which leaves a significant hole to be filled. Despite the decline of workers in conventional fossil fuels, the number of new workers entering the renewable energy field is still not enough, despite the long-term job security in this field.
This could be down to a low number of long-term, secure contracts from the government. To encourage more young people to pursue a career in energy, the government should provide plans that last for years or even decades, not just months. The government has put new skill programs in place for young people, but they often require teachers to secure placements in addition to their already busy timetables. The government should do more to raise awareness and help those who are interested in these programs.
Engineering, Infrastructure and Manufacturing
Manufacturing businesses have struggled with the skills gap for years, with a study by Deloitte showing that the percentage of positions that were challenging to fill rose from 35% in 2015 to 46% in 2020. One way to increase recruitment in engineering and manufacturing is to offer higher salaries, because engineers are often required on-site and other perks such as remote working may not be possible.
However, addressing the skills gap requires more than just offering higher salaries. There needs to be more done to educate young people about the potential career opportunities within thus industry, and businesses need to invest in education and upskilling to retain top talent and mould the future generation of industry specialists.
Additionally, businesses should consider providing training for existing professionals and looking at candidates with wide-ranging or untraditional engineering backgrounds. These candidates may not only provide the necessary labour but also bring new perspectives and problem-solving skills to the rapidly evolving industry. Utilizing specialized technical recruitment to find new workers outside the established talent pool of the industry can also help to solve the skills gap.
Overall, the skills gap is a complex problem that requires leaders within the technical and engineering sector to seriously consider change and implement new innovative solutions and be open to new perspectives. If you are seeking Engineering talent, JAM can provide your business with a bespoke solution that is tailored to your needs.