With an annual shortfall of at least 20,000 skilled workers, generating interest in engineering has been firmly on the agenda for recruiters and hiring managers for some time now.
A new report by recruitment website Jobsite shows this could finally be making a difference, as findings reveal as many as 50% of 16- to 18-year-olds would consider a career in this field.
New findings by Jobsite reveal that 69% of recruiters find it difficult to source engineering candidates with the right skills or experience. However, this could soon be a problem of the past; perceptions are changing, as Jobsite research finds teens believe engineering is a cool (84%), creative (86%) career choice.
Reasons stated for being attracted to an engineering career include the ability to solve challenging problems (57%), opportunity to build things (55%), career progression (42%) and salary (39%). This view is shared by current engineers who cite rewarding work, job security and varied workload as the best parts of the job.
However, despite 87% being aware of engineering as a career option by age 18, some 63% of teens surveyed were not aware of the qualifications needed to pursue it. Work experience provides some students a way to explore chosen career options, however 70% have not been presented with any opportunities for work experience in the sector.
Gender stereotypes also continue to hold the sector back, as half of teens believe engineering is a male career choice. While most engineers do not agree (77%), nearly half (40%) think that advertised roles reinforce these stereotypes and that engineering does not represent women adequately (50%).
Jobsite CEO Nick Gold said: “Over the last decade, careers in tech have become aspirational. Now it’s time for engineering to revitalise its image and do the same. Through role models and high-profile projects, Britain’s teens are finally seeing that STEM careers are a way to satisfy a range of needs and make a real difference in society.
“Our report highlights the need for recruiters and employers to demonstrate a clear path into these careers for young people today. Engineers we spoke to cite a range of routes into the industry, not just through degrees but also apprenticeships and on the job training. This proves engineering to be a very accessible career choice, regardless of academic strengths and background. Demystifying this is the key to attracting and nurturing the talent needed to fill the shortfall.”