Engineering Skills Shortage – Reality or Media Hype?
Finding skilled engineers can be a challenge. But who’s responsible, how did this happen and is it reality or media hype?
You could argue that part of the problem resides in the fact that engineers aren’t given the respect (or reflective pay) that doctors or bankers get. Without engineers, todays technological improvements would not have been made.
Engineer shortage or skills shortage?
Here’s the paradox – high unemployment in the world’s skilled labor market, but companies are complaining about not having the right candidates. There seems to be no shortage of engineers out there eager to learn and get involved; but finding people with the right niche skillset and experience who can hit the ground running is tough, particularly if you are at the forefront of new technology.
There is certainly not a skill shortage across the board in engineering, who doesn’t know a friend out there in engineering who’s looking for a job? But there are definitely sectors that have been struggling.
Who’s responsible for developing engineers?
Governments have been trying. Here in the UK we have a wide array of government-backed organizations whose key objectives include helping develop the right skills. But with budget cuts in recent years there’s less money to go around for these kinds of initiatives. Perhaps governments could consider novel ways of trying to raise the status of engineering roles; providing more focus on addressing the skills deficit in organizations and institutions through incentives that are not just about getting people into a job for the short term but keeping them there and building their skills.
At the same time companies and technology creators also need to do their part. There are some great companies in market sectors like automotive, aerospace and industrial that can show us what real grassroots development is all about. The likes of JCB, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Renishaw and IBM run many programs that support the development of new engineers from taking on people straight out of school as apprentices and training them in partnership with local education establishments, to supporting degree courses, with real involvement in curriculum development and help with work placements.
Helping young developing engineers and college/university programs keep up with the latest technology is something all companies should be thinking about. It’s an area we take seriously at Zuken.
Investing in engineers for the “right” skills
You may have heard about our involvement in various Formula Student teams across Europe and America, helping automotive engineers specializing in electrical system design with training on E3.series, our electrical design solution. You’d better watch out for these guys and gals, they really are a talented bunch!
Along with some of our resellers, we have also been working with various academic institutions. For example Algozen Corp., one of our CADSTAR resellers, has been working with Durham College in Ontario Canada – an institution that has been using CADSTAR for 20 years.
We are always looking for new academic institutions to work with, so please contact me if you want to know more.
It’s important not to forget that we need to “speculate to accumulate.” Investing in the future will ensure everyone’s continued success. In addition, changing the value of engineers within society would go a long way to making a career in engineering an attractive option that has the financial remuneration and status that it deserves.