Mind the skills gap

The engineering and technology sector is facing a growing recruitment crisis according to new research.


The engineering and technology sector is facing a growing recruitment crisis and there is little confidence that the problem will improve in the short or medium term according to the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology).


The IET’s annual skills survey of 500 companies has revealed that businesses are turning to countries such as India, China and South Africa to plug the skills gap with 48 per cent of companies recruiting from overseas in the last 12 months to cover specific skills shortages.


Business that expect to face difficulties in recruiting adequate suitably qualified engineers, technicians or technologists over the next four years had risen from 40.2 per cent in 2006 to 51.8 per cent in 2007.


The IET’s latest survey shows that although the engineering and technology sector is still growing and recruiting, only 56 per cent of respondents believed they would be able to recruit enough people into engineering and technical roles this year. Confidence is down – this represents a fall from 65 per cent believing the same in 2006.


The report also highlights the fact that that the recruitment of women has remained static. Just 7 per cent of the engineering and technology workforce are women and this figure is unlikely to improve with the majority of respondents (52.2 per cent) estimating that the proportion of female candidates recruited to engineering and technology roles will remain the same in the next four years.