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Engineers confident of strong recovery in 2015 says Matchtech survey

UK engineers are reporting surging confidence in economic recovery on the back of major investment in infrastructure projects according to a survey of 3500 engineers conducted by recruitment specialist Matchtech.

The report found that engineers expect 2015 to produce growing order books and employment within their industry. But Matchtech warned that the survey also highlighted increased concern about the growing engineering skills gap. 

"46% of engineers surveyed believed high profile infrastructure projects were positively changing perceptions of the industry"

Of those questioned for the 2014 Matchtech Confidence Index, 61% of engineers working in the UK's £1.06 trillion turnover engineering industry said they were confident the sector would see revenues increase in the coming 12 months.

More than half (56%) of engineers questioned said they were confident the UK would continue to be a leader within global engineering, with 40% believing the engineering sector had a better reputation and was held in higher esteem in the UK today than 12 months ago. 

In addition, 45% of engineers questioned believed their company would increase its overseas work in 2015. And 43% expected their employer to recruit more staff in the coming year; with just 20% saying they did not  expect staff numbers to rise.

However, the survey also highlighted that demand for engineers is resulting in a skills gap in the industry, with only 5% of the engineers surveyed believing there was no skills shortage in the UK.

Matchtech managing director Keith Lewis said: “The engineering sector has shown strong growth in the past 18 months and been lauded for leading the UK recovery, however we have to act now to address the skills shortage if we are to build a sustainable recovery and maintain what George Osborne has described as the ‘March of the Makers’.

“In reality we are seeing record demand for engineers and engineering skills and more than half of engineers are still confident in their own prospects. However, the biggest challenge facing the engineering industry is the skills shortage and people considering leaving the industry for jobs elsewhere, or retirement.

“If the engineering and manufacturing recovery is to be maintained then we have to invest in training and qualifications and encourage more people to study STEM subjects whilst ensuring that the vital skills of UK engineers are more broadly recognised, in order to encourage people to remain in the industry and in the UK.”

When it came to the impact of economic recovery on their industry more than 46% of engineers surveyed believed high profile infrastructure projects were positively changing perceptions of the industry. And 43% said that improved economic conditions were driving confidence across the industry compared to just 22% in last year’s Matchtech Confidence Index