There's an awful lot being made of late about an engineering shortage in the UK, and we've dedicated a fair bit of coverage to this ongoing story on our blog. Talk of a 'retirement cliff' and a lack of female professionals in the engineering industry is dominating the headlines on a weekly basis, but one of the very latest stories is taking a rather different tack, leading us to question just how cut and dried the situation actually is.
Official data concerning the engineering industry has been almost universally dismal of late, yet, according to The Telegraph, a far more positive story could be hiding beneath the surface. In light of the well-documented engineering shortage, there has been a concerted effort from many parties to raise the profile of how important engineering is in our daily lives, and these efforts have turned up an unexpected statistic; there are more UK engineers than we might have thought.
Apparently, 1.6 million 'hidden' engineers are currently operating in the UK workforce, taking the total of UK engineers up to a more respectable 4.3 million individuals. One of the fundamental concerns that recent initiatives have been trying to address is how engineering is a far broader profession than many people think, and evidently the way that 'engineering' roles have been classed in surveys has been similarly narrow.
What Does This Mean?
Sometimes, even the people who are exercising engineering gifts in the wider community are not consciously aware that their duties fall under the engineering g umbrella, Put simply, it seems that it is not only the public who harbour misconceptions over what an engineer is, but many real-life engineers do too! Many people who use engineering skills don't even realise it.
Whilst this development is not a 'magic bullet' that allows us to breathe a collective sigh of relief and forget the engineering shortage, it does give hope that the situation is not as bad as it may have been made out to be, and also suggests that the correct way to tackle the shortage – namely the dispelling of misconceptions – is already being pursued. There's still a real need to attract more people into engineering, but perhaps applicable skill-sets are a little more widespread than was at first thought.
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