Double the number of engineering graduates and apprentices

The UK needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet demand

A report launched at No 11 Downing Street by EngineeringUK on 3rd December highlights the need to double the number of annual recruits into engineering to 2020 to meet expected demand.

Engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings from 2010 – 2020, 1.86 million of which will need engineering skills. Of these, approximately 87,000 per year will require people with degree (including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate) qualifications. Currently the UK produces only 46,000 engineering graduates each year. There will also be demand for around 69,000 people qualified at advanced apprenticeship or equivalent level each year. Yet only around 27,000 UK apprentices a year currently qualify at the appropriate level.

Engineering UK 2013 launch

EngineeringUK Chief Executive, Paul Jackson, said: “What the report makes clear is the need to lay the groundwork early. This means doubling the numbers of young people studying GCSE physics as part of triple science, growing the numbers of students studying physics A level and providing robust and consistent careers information for young people that promotes the diversity of engineering careers available and the variety of routes to those careers.

“Job prospects in engineering are a good news story. It is crucial, however, that Government, business, professional bodies, education and the wider engineering community continue to work together to ensure that the UK has the talent pipeline ready to meet demand.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon, said: “Engineering is fundamental to the UK's economic progress, so it's critical that we ensure there are enough skilled people to meet demand.

"Last month we announced that the business run Talent Retention Scheme - which is helping engineers leaving the defence sector to find new jobs - is being extended to students, and we're continuing to look at various ways to support engineering at all levels, such as engagement in schools, apprenticeships and postgraduate training including engineering doctorates."

The launch at No. 11 was hosted by Michael Fallon MP, bringing together chief executives across UK engineering to discuss the findings and actions to make an impact on a national level. Attendees at No. 11 included Alstom Ltd, Arup Group Trust, Aston University, Avingtrans plc, BAA Airports Ltd, Costain Group plc, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, EngineeringUK, E.ON UK plc, Finmeccanica UK Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline plc, JCB World Headquarters, Mondelez, National Grid, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, Olympic Delivery Authority, Rolls-Royce plc, The Royal Academy of Engineering, Shell International Ltd, Siemens plc, and Talk Talk.

Key findings from Engineering UK: the state of engineering 2013

Read the full report here.

Engineering is rebalancing the economy

• Engineering turnover was £1.06 trillion in the year ending March 2011 – 23.9% of the turnover of all UK enterprises and three times the size of the retail sector
• 5.4 million people are employed across 542,440 engineering enterprises.

The UK needs more engineers

• Engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings from 2010 – 2020; 1.86 million of these will need engineering skills
• We need to double the number of recruits with Higher National Certificates, foundation degrees, degrees or higher
• The UK needs to triple the number of apprentices in the sector to 69,000 a year on average; currently 27,000 apprentices a year qualify at level 3.

Positive prospects

• The average starting salary for engineering and technology graduates is £25,762, 15.7% more than the average for all graduates
• Engineering technicians, with an average salary of £34,018, top the league of technician salaries
• Within six months of graduating, 85% of engineering graduates go into either paid work or further study. Almost two thirds of those who go into employment go to work for an employer whose primary activity was engineering and technology.

A call to action across the engineering sector

The engineering sector needs a joined-up action where Government works in partnership across the engineering industry, professional bodies and third sector to achieve long-term impact at a national level.

• Twice the number of engineering graduates is needed to meet the demand for future engineering graduates, physics teachers and engineering lecturers

• Double of the numbers of young people studying GCSE physics as part of triple sciences and grow the numbers of students studying physics A level to match those studying maths.

• A big increase in the numbers of pre-19-year-olds students studying vocational level 3 qualifications in engineering and manufacturing technology, construction planning and the built environment and information and communications technologies is required

• Provision of (face-to-face) robust and consistent careers information advice and guidance for all 11- to 14-year-olds that promotes the diversity of engineering careers available and the variety of routes to those careers, and includes opportunities to experience the workplace

• Support for teachers and careers advisors in delivering careers information to give them an understanding of the range of engineering career paths available, including vocational and technician, and the opportunity to experience a 21st century engineering workplace for themselves.


For all media enquiries including photographs from the launch contact Miriam Laverick:
020 3206 0444

EngineeringUK 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

Engineering UK 2013: The state of Engineering is an annual report on the state of UK engineering and the cornerstone of wider policy output. To read the report, go to