Engineers confident water sector will grow despite skills shortage
Engineers in the UK water industry are confident in the future growth of their sector, but acknowledge a huge skills gap still remains, according to a new survey by engineering recruitment company Matchtech.
The Engineering: Voice of the Workforce study, which surveyed more than 2,500 engineers worldwide, highlighted the extent of the significant problem within the sector with 84% of engineers working in the water sector acknowledging that a skills shortage exists.
Despite the shortage, confidence amongst those who work within the sector is relatively high, with 59% saying they are confident the sector will grow and increase its revenues over the next 12 months, and 54% stating they believe their organisation will look to recruit in that time.
Confidence in career progression is also high with more than half of those working in water confident about their career progression over the coming 12 months, compared to just 14% saying they were not.
The research found that almost half of the water engineers surveyed (44%) think their sector is held in lower regard than it was 12 months ago and attributed this to a lack of technological advancements, amongst other reasons such as a lack of high profile projects.
Stuart Minchin, divisional manager – Water & Environment at Matchtech, said: “Whilst a lack of skills may speed up the career progression of those engineers already working within water, this is probably the only positive that can be attributed to the skills shortage issue. It’s clear that more needs to be done to promote the exciting projects happening in water. There are a number of exciting, innovative projects in the sector such as the Thames Tideway but we need to draw more attention to them to raise the profile of engineering within this sector.”
He said: “The research indicated that the most important factor in tackling the skills shortage is the promotion of engineering as a career choice to younger generations. The industry needs to educate young people and engineers in other sectors about how crucial the work of the water and environment sector is.
“Without the work of engineers within the sector, our access to high quality drinking water would be severely limited and a lack of effective waste management would cause major implications to the nation’s health.”
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