Will the UK face a shortfall of qualified Engineers by 2050?

Published: 09 Dec 2013

The recruitment specialist Randstad CPE specializes in head-hunting professionals for the resources and engineering industries. A recent study conducted by them to address shortages in certain trade sectors brought out some alarming news. As per this detailed study, the UK could face 36,800 shortfall in qualified engineers by the year 2050.

Some very interesting findings came out from this research. It’s predicted that the UK will require a strong 35.4 million workforce to meet demands in 2050. But changes in the UK’s population and retirement age will inevitably create a gap between labour demand and supply of workers.

Besides the change in demographics, many other reasons have been cited behind the deficit of qualified engineers in the years to come.


Migration of skilled labour is seen as one of the major reason responsible for causing this gap in the market. Since 2007, overall work-related migration from the UK rose by 16% whereas work-related immigration plummeted by 24%.

Ambitious engineering projects abroad attract local engineers:

High-volume infrastructure and development projects overseas are on a rise. Highly skilled professionals are in huge demand for oil and mining projects in Nigeria and Australia.

Ageing Workforce:

In the next few decades, there will be a high number of retirements in the engineering sector. By 2050, the ageing population will leave a workforce of 32.3 million employed people in the UK across all sectors.

Lack of Education Funding for young people:

Due to engineering university fees being on the higher end, students are being discouraged from taking up tertiary education.

However, according to economists and trade analysts, this is just one side of the story. There is altogether another perception about the state of affairs as far as employment opportunities are concerned in this sector, and thankfully it’s a positive one.

Some important steps taken by the Government are:

Government Grants:

Incentives are being provided to young aspirants who wish to pursue a career in engineering and its allied industries. The Prime Minister has pledged 30 million pound aid to sponsor engineering technician apprenticeships in the beginning of this year.

New Centres are being set up:

New engineering and manufacturing institute is being set up in Coventry. It’s a bold £32 million project that will focus on driving excellence in this sector and will encourage innovative learning, research and development activities. 

Local Projects:

EDF plans to invest £20bn in low-carbon nuclear generation over the next 15 years which will create massive job opportunities for professionals in the engineering sector.

It will be fair to say that the demand for a skilled engineering workforce is a critical issue at present; however with new and improved policies being put into place, the UK will see a massive growth in this industry. Engineers with the right qualifications and experience can see themselves benefitting from the current deficit and newly qualified engineers can expect many more job opportunities coming their way.


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