Recent statistics show a shortfall of 400,000 engineers in the UK with the Engineering UK 2017/18 report highlighting a gender imbalance of only nine percent of roles filled by women. This is despite over 80% of engineers being happy or extremely happy in their roles and students in this sector being second only to doctors in securing full-time well-paid employment.
In the near term, this has the potential to leave original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) without the crucial resources to bring their leading edge ideas to life. This is where electronic manufacturing services (EMS) partners can provide the necessary expertise and talent to fill that gap.
But this still leaves a long-term need to ensure our increasingly connected world is supported in order for it to keep evolving. Future technology will depend on the brightest minds being committed to solving the challenges of today and this is where the next generation of innovators can make an impact. If there is to be an influx of new talent, it is essential that companies are proactive in getting involved with educational institutions to share the exciting, dynamic journey that a career in engineering can provide.
How can this industry appeal to the future generation?
One way is to start getting the message across to students that their interests can translate into opportunities that will allow them to solve problems that mean something to them personally. If a child is interested in taking things apart and putting them back together again, or wants to know the inner workings of the devices they use, the potential to be an engineer is already there. All that may be needed is the right encouragement and the right exposure to pursue this career path.
This is where corporate organisations can, and should, become involved to provide awareness and support. A common way is for a company to start its own outreach programme. Under this approach, engineers visit schools to talk about their role and demonstrate the life-impacting technologies that students can play a part in creating. While social media and smartphones have become a normal way of life for the upcoming generation, many young adults may not be aware that they could be helping to develop the next models of these platforms in the future.