2020 Excel resource

The 2020 Excel resource features information from a number of sources, including the Engineering UK Engineering Brand Monitor and The Office for National Statistics. 

Download the complete 2020 Excel resource

2020 Excel resource by chapter

A summary of the data in each chapter, including a link to the relevant section of the Excel resource can be found in the table below.

Chapter 1. Harnessing the talent pool

STEM education has great potential for addressing the skills crisis in the engineering sector. Unfortunately, however, young people still tend to opt out of STEM educational pathways, hindering opportunities to harness the engineering talent pool via education.

In addition, particular groups continue to be underrepresented in STEM, notably women, certain minority ethnic groups and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Understanding and addressing the factors that are driving this will enable the engineering sector to both increase the overall numbers of young people progressing through STEM educational pathways and ensure they reflect a range of backgrounds and experiences, bringing a diversity of thought to the sector.

Key facts and figures:

  • There is a widespread lack of awareness about engineering among young people. Almost half (46.7%) of 11 to 19 year olds say they know little or almost nothing about what engineers do.
  • Girls are more likely than boys to perceive themselves as lacking ability when it comes to STEM. Even though they outperform boys in most STEM subjects, girls may be opting for less ‘risky’ subjects in which they think they are more likely to do well.

  • Many young people think STEM is only suitable for those who are exceptionally clever, which can be a deterrent for those who are not confident in their academic capabilities. 62.2% of young people aged 16 to 17 in the UK feel that subjects like science or maths are more difficult than others.

  • Worryingly, relatively few young people know what steps they need to take to pursue an engineering career – just 42% of boys and 31% of girls aged 11 to 19 say they know what to do next to become an engineer.

  • Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to follow vocational routes rather than academic ones than their more advantaged peers. There is also a greater likelihood that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will leave education with lower-level qualifications.

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Chapter 2. Secondary education

Performance in secondary school STEM qualifications is one of the main ways to predict whether young people will continue to higher levels of STEM education, training and employment. Thus, the health of the UK engineering sector depends on both high levels of participation and attainment in these qualifications.

At this stage of the educational pathway into engineering, however, the sector faces a number of challenges, including: a lack of presence of engineering on the curriculum; the underrepresentation of girls in key STEM subjects; a decline in exam entries for some subjects that facilitate engineering; and a critical shortage in STEM teachers.

Key facts and figures: 

  • Across the UK the number of entries for GCSEs in STEM EBacc subjects has been rising. Entries for maths and double science rose by 4.2% and 4.8% in the 2018 to 2019 academic year.

  • There continues to be a notable lack of girls taking elective STEM subjects at GCSE - only 1 in 10 entries for engineering GCSE were by girls.

  • STEM subjects make up 4 of the top 10 most popular A level subjects. Entries increased by 8% to 9% for biology, chemistry and computing and (0.3%) for physics.

  • Boys are still far more likely than girls to study STEM A level subjects that often serve as entry requirements for engineering degrees, including physics (77.4% male), maths (61.3% male) and further maths (71.5% male).

  • There is an acute shortage of STEM teachers, additionally STEM subjects have low teacher specialism rates - only 17.5% of engineering teachers and 36.0% of computer science teachers have a relevant post-A level qualification.

Download the 2020 Excel Resource for Chapter 2

Chapter 3. Further education and apprenticeships

The UK’s further education (FE) sector is rapidly changing, with a funding boost for ‘high value’ courses, the shift to apprenticeship standards and new qualifications and institutes of technology. In such a changing landscape, it is critical for the engineering sector not to lose its focus on addressing long-standing issues of STEM teacher shortages and the lack of diversity among apprentices.

Key facts and figures:

  • In September 2020, students will be able to enrol on the first T level qualifications in construction, digital, and education routes, which will include an extended industry placement with relevant employers. The engineering and manufacturing T level will be available to students as of September 2022.

  • FE colleges have reported they struggle to attract sufficiently qualified engineering teachers, with 74% of college principals ranking it as the subject most difficult to recruit for.
  • In England, apprenticeship starts in the academic year 2018 to 2019 have increased by 4.7% compared with the year before. As of 2019, there were 227 apprenticeship standards approved for delivery in engineering-related areas. 

  • Women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds remain severely underrepresented in engineering-related apprenticeships. 
  • In 2018 to 2019, women made up low proportions of starts in construction (6.4%), engineering and manufacturing (7.9%) and ICT (19.8%) in England.

Download the 2020 Excel Resource for Chapter 3

Chapter 4. Higher education

The future of the HE landscape remains uncertain, with the UK having left the European Union in January 2020 without a clear implementation plan for the university sector. There are widespread concerns that the decision to leave the EU will make the UK’s HE sector less attractive to international staff and students and that it will be harder to access EU research funding and collaborations. HE engineering – which relies heavily on international students – will need to work hard to ensure that the UK remains a destination of choice for students and staff alike. Moreover, women and those for disadvantaged backgrounds are underrepresented and there are large degree attainment gaps by ethnicity. Engineering must therefore also address issues of access and equality in HE.

Key facts and figures:

  • Engineering and technology entries have increased at first degree undergraduate and postgraduate research level (by 5.6% and 10.4%, respectively).
  • Over the past 10 years, the number of other undergraduate entrants in both engineering and technology and across HE overall has fallen dramatically.
  • Just 1 in 5 (21%) of all engineering and technology entrants were women in 2018 to 2019, whereas they accounted for more than half (57%) of the student population overall.

  • In 2018 to 2019, 30% of entrants were from minority ethnic backgrounds, which is higher than among the overall student population (26%).

  • Only 8% of engineering and technology entrants were disabled compared with 12% of the wider student cohort in 2018 to 2019. 

 Download the 2020 Excel Resource for Chapter 4