Engineers are in high demand – but there’s not enough
Engineers are in high demand globally. The fourth industrial revolution and increasing urbanization are putting pressure on our cities. This is raising one important question: How do we make room for all of us in a sustainable way?
According to the UN, the size of the world population will reach 9.8 billion in 2050. At the same time, the population living in urban areas will rise from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion 2050.
This increasing urbanization is facilitating more work for engineers. But there’s not enough people to do the job…
It’s estimated that the engineering industry in the UK will need 1.8 million new engineers by 2025, according to a report by EngineeringUK. Industries requiring engineering skills include food and drinks, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, automation, and robotics
According to Prospects study, mechanical, electrical, chemical, and software engineers are particularly in high demand. Companies require engineers with skills in design, production and maintenance. Science and pharmaceutical companies demand engineers who can work research and development.
In total, 75 percent of UK companies now face an engineering skills shortage, according to a British Chamber of Commerce study.
But the UK is not alone in having this problem. Big construction and tech companies in Denmark also find it increasingly difficult to find the highly-skilled engineers. Denmark will lack 13.500 engineers by 2025, according the study Engineer the future.
In both countries, the shortage is partly due to more workers reaching the retirement age, and partly because the countries struggle with find getting more young people to study engineering. This is specifically true for women.
This shortage is detrimental for businesses who risk losing productivity and profits, significantly harming their competitive health. As a consequence, companies are now battling over access to the best engineers, often recruiting each other’s employees.
According to a study by IDA, 66 percent of their Danish engineering members employed in the private sector were approached by a recruiter last year, asking them to join another company. Approximately 20 percent of them said yes to the offer. But battling over access to other companies’ talent is often a time-consuming and expensive process with no guarantees.
So what is the solution?
How do you get a hold of engineers for your company?
More and more business leaders are turning to alternatives, such as employing freelancers for their engineering jobs, according to a study by IDA. This is true both for Denmark and for the UK. Read more about this in the IPSE study here.
Studies by IDA and Ramboll show that there are clear benefits to reap from using freelance engineers. Employing freelancers allow companies to expand and contract their staff, according to demand – and on a project-basis. These workers are perfectly suited for today’s companies, who have to be able to react to the ever-changing market conditions with agility, flexibility, and speed.
These workers also provide new knowledge, skills specialization, and innovation, because they often have years of experience from working in different industries with different projects. Read why being agile in every aspect of your business is vital Integrate Agile Holistically.
The US is far ahead with this trend. 89 percent of businesses in the US are now supplementing their workforce with freelancers to gain a competitive advantage, according to Elance’s 2013 Global Business Survey. 87 percent of these companies stated that the quality of the talent they hired was better or equal to what they could have gotten through other means.
Are you interested in learning more? Read more in this blogpost Agile HR about companies should recruit with agility, and why recruiting is about access, not ownership.