Market Research Reveals Engineering Skills Gap Damaging UK Economic Growth

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16th July 2012 15:34 - Engineering

A survey of 402 businesses on behalf of the UK arm of General Electric has shown that economic growth in Britain is being held back because successful manufacturing companies are unable to recruit enough suitable technicians and engineers.

The findings of the study, which looked at UK companies "in high-tech sectors that focus on technically advanced products or use specialised processes to make them", revealed a serious skills shortage in key areas is preventing manufacturers from expanding.

Among the companies encountering recruitment difficulties for suitable staff is Omega Foundry Machinery, which has increased their staff from 25 to 150 in the past two years and would go further if they could find the right people. Chairman Mark Fenyes commented: "If I could find two or three engineers with the right degree of experience and skills, I'd employ them straight away."

The demand for more technicians and engineers is most prevalent in the expanding car industry and also from defence and aerospace companies.

Sir Mike Gregory, who leads the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge University where around 80 engineers are trained annually, confirmed the demand:  "In just about every sector that employs engineers, I hear howls of anguish from companies which find they cannot get the people they want."

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Jam Recruitment, John Morris, reiterated the issue: "Even in a climate where much of manufacturing is growing only very slowly, if at all, demand for top-quality engineers, particularly with experience of managing projects and who have design qualifications, is very high."

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