Look beyond propaganda on pay

Speaking at a fringe event, The broken market in pay: how far should the government intervene?, organised by Think Tank SMF at this week’s Liberal Democrat conference, Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK urged Government to play their part in encouraging (young) people to look beyond propaganda on pay.

Sharing the platform with business secretary Vince Cable and Stephen Gilbert MP, Paul outlined the crucial role to be played by manufacturing and engineering in delivering a rebalanced economy and long term growth. He said: “The engineering footprint generates 20% of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product; three times that of the finance sector, and employs 4.5 million people. To retain our standing as the world’s sixth largest manufacturer, we need to attract talent and change misconceptions about engineering.”

Recent research by EngineeringUK shows that the primary consideration for people, across all age groups and genders, when making career choices, is pay. For 17 to 19 year olds, 77% consider pay as a priority. The perception of where the highest pay can be earned drives the choices made by young people and is often based on the high profile few rather than the many, Paul argued. “The millions to be made from show business as suggested by shows like the X Factor; or the bankers’ bonuses we read about distort our views about pay. The reality is that these mega bucks will only ever be available to the lucky few; while at all levels of engineering there are rewarding – in every sense of the word - careers to be found; careers that will contribute to a robust, revitalised economy.”

In seeking advice from highly paid experts from finance and retail, Government sends out the wrong message to the public about which industries underpin our economy, Paul asserted. “Next time the Government is looking for advice on how to put the country back on track, they should turn to the engineering community. Put your faith in engineers and in doing that, show today’s young people that their future options go beyond X Factor or banking success. Make sure they have access to real information about their options, rather than leaving it to sound bites that only highlight the exceptional.”

“You can make it more likely that Britain will have the skills the country needs in the future. If you do, manufacturing and engineering will be equipped to deliver” he said.

Notes to Editors


EngineeringUK, formerly the ETB, is an independent organisation that promotes the vital contribution of engineers, engineering and technology in our society. EngineeringUK partners business and industry, government and the wider science and engineering community: producing evidence on the state of engineering, sharing knowledge within engineering and inspiring young people to choose a career in engineering, matching employers’ demand for skills. For more information about EngineeringUK please visit,

For further information please contact:

Miriam Laverick, PR and Communications Manager
Tel: 020 3206 0444