Engineers, IT workers and technicians 'needed to boost recruitment drives'

The recruitment of engineers and technicians must increase if the UK is to remain active in building world class facilities such as the ones which have been seen at the Olympic Park for the 2012 Games in London, experts believe.

Studies have shown that top employers are finding it more of a challenge to bring in engineers this year than in 2011 - a sign that the economy throughout the UK will continue to shrink.

The annual skills survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) reveals that employers are struggling to find new staff, despite a demand for new recruits.

Around 58% of employers are looking to bring in new faces over the next year, compared to just 36% last year. This can be compared to a high of 63% which was seen in 2008, just before the global financial crisis began.

The IET's principal policy adviser for education and skills, Stephanie Fernandes, said: "The engineering sector has enjoyed a renaissance recently, playing such a central role in enabling a successful Olympics Games.

"The sector is of huge importance to the economy, typically accounting for a quarter of all turnover in the UK. This new research clearly shows a desire by employers to recruit new staff, but that they are struggling to find the right people.

"The planned recruitment is clearly good news, suggesting increased confidence in the economic outlook, but if firms are unable to fill their vacancies the economy will continue to shrink."

Recruitment demand for people seeking a career in engineering, IT and technical work has also gone up, according to the survey, with 39% of firms looking to bring in new staff in the next year, as opposed to just under 25% in 2011.

More than three quarters (77%) of firms are recruiting new employees as a result of expansions in their business, according to the IET's survey.

Ms Fernandes added: "It is more important than ever that the education system consistently delivers the engineers and technicians that industry desperately needs.

"This reinforces the recent House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report which called for urgent action by the Government to boost student numbers in the STEM subjects."

Copyright Press Association 2012