We have come to the final part in our series marking National Apprenticeship Week having so far looked at Construction; Business, IT & Customer Service; Finance; and Health and Social care. In this piece, again in partnership with City & Guilds, we will be looking at the Engineering sector.
Overview of Engineering
The Engineering sector is one of the most crucial to any economy, but over the last few decades there have been fewer and fewer engineering graduates and, as we wrote about here, employers have increasingly lamented the lack of skilled, qualified workers to drive their businesses. One of Britain’s most prominent engineers, James Dyson, has repeatedly highlighted this situation, arguing that instead of building our economy on the service sector, loans, banking and the dotcom bubble, we need to get back to making things. As he put it here, “Making money from money should be replaced with making money from making.”
The last ten years has been a bit of a mixed bag for the Engineering sector in England and Wales, with decline for the first few years (2003-2006), followed by two years of growth, and then another three years of decline. However, since 2011 there has been good growth, as the graph below shows:
In terms of actual figures, the numbers employed in 2013 (468,649) were almost identical to the numbers employed in the sector back in 2003(468,927). Our data suggests that the sector could well see fairly significant growth over the next few years, with a 4% increase between 2013 and 2018 — approximately 19,000 more people employed in Engineering industries.
Industries and Occupations
Unlike the previous pieces, where we began by looking at the specific industry sectors and then at the occupations within those sectors, with Engineering it is easier to start with the occupations and then work back to the industries where these occupations are found. The table below shows the number of people employed in Engineering occupations, including those employed at the technician level, in England and Wales in 2013:
Table: Engineering Occupations 2013
|Description||2013 Jobs||Median Hourly Earnings||Education Level|
|Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2014.1|
|Engineering professionals n.e.c.||59,460||£18.10||Level 6|
|Engineering technicians||59,055||£15.44||Level 3|
|Mechanical engineers||51,723||£19.26||Level 6|
|Design and development engineers||49,638||£18.62||Level 6|
|Civil engineers||45,100||£16.62||Level 6|
|Production and process engineers||29,088||£16.84||Level 6|
|Electrical engineers||28,497||£19.49||Level 6|
|Science, engineering and production technicians n.e.c.||27,839||£11.71||Level 3|
|Electronics engineers||25,395||£17.68||Level 6|
|Planning, process and production technicians||20,450||£13.42||Level 3|
|Electrical and electronics technicians||18,535||£13.74||Level 4|
|Quality assurance technicians||17,981||£12.33||Level 3|
|Building and civil engineering technicians||10,520||£13.02||Level 3|
At the top of the table, there are similar numbers for Engineering professionals n.e.c (59,460 employed) and Engineering technicians (59,460), and there are also roughly 50,000 employed as Mechanical engineers and Design and development engineers. As we would have expected, many of the occupations require high education levels, with exactly half of the fourteen categories requiring Level 6 qualifications.
One other thing to note is the generally high earning potential of those in the Engineering sector, with an average hourly earnings of £16.43, as compared to an average £12.45 per hour across all occupations in England and Wales.
In terms of the industries that these occupations are found in, the table below gives us the details:
Table: The Top 20 Industries Which Employ Engineering Occupations (4-Digit SIC Level) in 2013
|Industry||Occupation Group Jobs in Industry (2013)|
|Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2014.1|
|Engineering activities and related technical consultancy||66,300|
|Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery||21,019|
|Construction of other civil engineering projects n.e.c.||19,331|
|Public administration and defence; compulsory social security||18,700|
|Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering||10,134|
|Construction of residential and non-residential buildings||9,131|
|Plumbing, heat and air-conditioning installation||9,044|
|Manufacture of instruments and appliances for measuring, testing and navigation||6,755|
|Manufacture of motor vehicles||6,058|
|Technical testing and analysis||5,873|
|General secondary education||5,488|
|Other telecommunications activities||5,457|
|Repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft||4,877|
|Activities of head offices||4,505|
|Production of electricity||4,433|
|Manufacture of weapons and ammunition||4,369|
|Construction of roads and motorways||4,066|
The highest sector by far is the Engineering activities and related technical consultancy sector, which employs a total of 66,300 people in Engineering occupations. Elsewhere, Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery (21,019), Construction of other civil engineering projects n.e.c. (19,331), Public administration and defence; compulsory social security (18,700) all employ fairly similar numbers.
Regional Variations in Engineering
Moving on to regional variations, the following graph shows which regions have the highest employment in the Engineering sector across England and Wales:
The highest concentration of people employed in Engineering occupations is in the South East, with 81,221 (17.3% of the total) employed in 2013. Most regions have a fairly proportionate number of people employed in Engineering occupations, when compared to the population of that region, but there are a few exceptions. The South East, for example, is home to 15.4% of the population but accounts for 17.3% of Engineering jobs in England and Wales. At the other end of the scale, Wales makes up 5.4% of the population of England and Wales, but accounts for just 4.2% of Engineering jobs.
The Future of Engineering
We already know from the graph at the top of this piece that our data predicts a rise of 4% in Engineering employment from 2013-2018, but where is the growth set to take place? We can look at this in a number of ways, but as we have done in our previous pieces, let’s take a look at the growth firstly in terms of regional variations, and then in terms of actual occupations. The graph below shows where we would expect to see growth in the Engineering sector by region:
According to our forecasts, there is good news throughout England and Wales with all regions set to experience some growth in this sector. The East of England, and London are set for particularly good growth of 6% each, but there should also be significant growth in the South East, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, the South West and the North West. This should give plenty of incentives for colleges and those running apprenticeship schemes to look carefully at which Engineering occupations are set to grow most in their area, and to address it accordingly with good provision.
Looking at the growth in terms of jobs, the table below shows the top ten growth occupations in Engineering over the next five years:
Table: Top 10 Highest Growth Engineering Occupations Over the Next Five Years
Industry Engineering Group Jobs in Industry (2013) Engineering Group Jobs in Industry (2018) Engineering Change (2013 - 2018) Engineering % Change (2013 - 2018)
Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2014.1
Engineering activities and related technical consultancy 66,300 70,173 3,873 6%
Electrical installation 14,861 16,790 1,929 13%
Construction of residential and non-residential buildings 9,131 10,584 1,453 16%
Technical testing and analysis 5,873 6,957 1,084 18%
Plumbing, heat and air-conditioning installation 9,044 10,061 1,017 11%
Activities of head offices 4,505 5,517 1,012 22%
Combined facilities support activities 3,892 4,754 862 22%
Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery 21,019 21,760 741 4%
Maintenance and repair of motor vehicles 3,862 4,373 511 13%
Other construction installation 1,855 2,342 487 26%
According to our data, the highest growth over the next few years is likely to be seen in what is already the biggest occupation category — Engineering activities and related technical consultancy — which should see almost 4,000 more people employed in 2018 than in 2013. Some of the other major growth occupations include Electrical Installation (almost 2,000 more jobs) and Construction of residential and non-residential buildings (nearly 1,500 more jobs).
Looking back over the data and analysis above, what have we gleaned? The three major takeaway points are as follows:
- Engineering employment is at the same level in 2013 as it was in 2003, but is set to grow by 4% up to 2018.
- Engineering jobs pay, on average, very well with an average hourly wage almost £4-per-hour more than the average for all other occupations.
- All regions throughout England and Wales should see growth in the sector over the coming years, giving good opportunities throughout the country for those whose role it is to train the engineers of the future.
EMSI and City & Guilds are working in partnership to deliver an innovative new service to FE Colleges. City & Guilds Advance provides colleges with a detailed labour market review, linked to their current curriculum and identify gaps in provision leading to a full quality review of key subject areas to address key Ofsted requirements. To find out more please visit the City & Guilds website.