The report – put together by global workforce data analyst, Lightcast, and published in May, found that UK vacancies for ‘green engineering’ roles had increased by 55% in the past five years, ‘driven by the focus on achieving a Net Zero economy by 2050’. The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) said the report highlighted engineering’s importance to the UK economy, but warned that the number of vacancies reflected ‘the growing skills gap’. “Building engineering firms are struggling to recruit enough people to meet current demand, but are simultaneously trying to assess their workforce needs to keep growing for the future,” said BESA President, Rab Fletcher. “On the one hand, it is great to see the number of engineering careers growing, and the profession’s profile rising, but on the other, we face a huge challenge to appeal to a much more diverse audience to recruit the future talent we desperately need.”
The Lightcast report calculated there were just over six million ‘engineering jobs’ across all industries in 2021 – about 19% of all UK employment – and that recruiting for engineering roles accounted for a quarter of all job postings in 2022. It concluded that ‘either the skills shortage in engineering is greater than in other areas, or that employers are hiring for future growth, or a combination of the two’.
Engineering UK – a not-for-profit organisation set up to encourage more young people to take up engineering careers – said engineers’ ‘central role in creating solutions to fight climate change’ was driving up demand. Over 212,000 job advertisements between 2021 and 2022 mentioned ‘green skills’.
“Given the soaring demand for engineers across all sectors, it’s essential the UK has a robust plan and funding in place to train the future workforce, bringing more young people from all backgrounds into engineering and technology, alongside reskilling the current workforce,” said Engineering CEO, Dr Hilary Leevers.
Pay is also rising in line with growing demand, with engineers commanding an average annual salary of £38,600, ‘almost 30% higher than the £30,000 average for all occupations’.
“Aspiring engineers have a world of opportunities ahead, as their skills and expertise become increasingly sought after,” added RAB Fletcher, who will complete his year as BESA President in July. “During my year in office,” he explained, “I have been delighted to witness noticeable growth in the prominence and status of built environment engineers. Their ability to solve complex problems, think critically, and adapt to new technologies, will be invaluable in shaping the future, and addressing the challenges ahead. Engineering skills are also a gateway to a fulfilling career, play a pivotal role in advancing society, and can make a lasting impact on the world and our local communities. The increased interest in the courses we run through the BESA Academy shows how much appetite there is for new and updated skills as we strive to shape our future workforce.”