Release Date: 24 May 2023
As the UK ramps up its focus on becoming a net zero economy, a new report commissioned by EngineeringUK finds that demand for engineers is predicted to grow faster than for other occupations and that vacancies for ‘green engineering’ roles in the UK have increased by more than half (55%) over the last 5 years.
The report, produced by Lightcast on behalf of EngineeringUK, identifies there were approximately 6.1 million engineering jobs (including tech roles) across all industries in 2021, representing around 19% of all jobs in the UK. At the same time the report finds that in the past year, recruitment activity for engineering roles accounted for a quarter (25%) of all job postings in the UK, suggesting that 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.
With engineers playing a central role in the development of solutions to help fight climate change, the report finds engineering job advertisements mentioning a ‘green skill’ have increased by nearly half – rising by 48%, to 212,000 jobs postings in the year 2021 to 2022. ‘Green’ roles appear across a wide range of engineering sectors – from civil and electrical through to ICT and software - showing that the application of these skills is far-reaching and important to the economy at large.
Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK comments, “Given the soaring demand for engineers across all sectors, it’s essential that 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.”
“With the growth in green skills, and the central role engineers and technicians play in transitioning to a green economy and addressing climate change, ensuring that the sector has the skilled workforce needed to thrive is more urgent than ever.”
The growing demand for engineers is also reflected in salaries on offer – with the average advertised salary in engineering (£38,600) almost 30% higher than the average salary for all occupations (£30,000).
The Lightcast report also features a skills snapshot for 13 engineering thematic groups. The snapshots cover the most popular specialist and software skills most sought after by recruiting employers as well as the top occupations within each group that employers have been recruiting for over the past year. The sectors covered are:
The full report ‘Engineering skills needs – now and into the future’ and accompanying discussion paper are available to download at: www.engineeringuk.com/futureskills
EngineeringUK will be exploring some of the key themes emerging from Lightcast's report in more detail over the coming year.
Notes to editors
Media Contact: Georgie Brown / [email protected] / 07763 875174
EngineeringUK is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers. We lead the engagement programmes: The Big Bang, Robotics Challenge and Energy Quest and help schools bring STEM to life through real-world engineering via Neon. We bring engineering careers inspiration and resources together through Tomorrow’s Engineers and manage The Tomorrow’s Engineers Code, which helps hundreds of organisations work together to increase the number and diversity of young people choosing academic and vocational pathways into engineering. We base everything we do on evidence and share our insight widely. www.engineeringuk.com
Lightcast provides trusted global labour market data, analytics, and expert guidance that empowers communities, corporations, and learning providers to make informed decisions and navigate the increasingly complex world of work. With a database of more than one billion job postings and career profiles, our team provides best-in-class customer service with robust data, clear analysis, and expert guidance on skills, jobs, and opportunities.
Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Lightcast is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, and India. The company is backed by global private equity leader KKR. For more, visit www.lightcast.io.
About the research
Given recent rapid labour market developments and changing workforce needs, EngineeringUK commissioned labour market analysts Lightcast in autumn 2022 to explore engineering and technology skills needs, and how these have changed across the engineering sector in recent years. The resulting report provides detailed insights into the engineering and technology sector.
Using Labour Force Survey data, Lightcast's report explores the current numbers of engineers and presents projections for the future engineering and technology workforce. This provides a useful overview of the scale of the engineering and technology workforce needed if current trends continue over the coming years. As the projections do not take account of the likelihood of increased investment into the net zero economy over the period, we see these as a low-end estimate of the future requirements.
Lightcast used job postings data to look at trends in employer recruitment activity over the period October 2021 to September 2022, providing near real-time insights on hiring trends. This provides a detailed overview of the latest roles and skills requirements for engineering and technology jobs, current salaries offered and how engineering and technology compares to other occupations.
EngineeringUK has written an accompanying discussion paper which reviews some of Lightcast's key findings in more detail and explores some of the actions required for the engineering and technology skills needs of the future to be met.
 The size of the green economy was measured by searching Lightcast job postings library for 370 job titles classified as ‘green’ and 230 green skills. This is an experimental approach to kickstart the discussion around the green economy while a common framework to look at green jobs is being developed by the Government.