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Skills Shortage Leaves Engineers Among Most Secure Staff in the UK
23% of the UK workforce feel insecure at work – but only 18% of engineers feel the same, making the sector one of the most secure in the country.
By: Randstad CPE
In a study of over 2,000 UK employees, just 18% of engineers said they feel worried about losing their job. This is one of the lowest proportions of any industry in the UK and is well below the wider national average of 23%. The only industries in which workers feel more secure than engineers are finance, wholesale and hospitality.
The findings show that the level of job security being felt by engineers has increased since the nadir of the recession. In 2009, just 47% of engineers said they felt secure in their job a figure which has now risen to 65% thanks to the skills gap in the sector creating confidence among engineers whose skills are in demand.
Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad Construction, Property and Engineering, said: “Job security is good for employees because it leads to higher levels of professional fulfilment. It’s good for employers because it leads to higher productivity and lower cases of absenteeism. However, strong levels of job security in an industry need to be achieved through positive rather than negative influences. The skills shortage being felt by the sector including multiple vacancies in many organisations has created less competition for jobs and staff feel safer in their roles because of a lack of talent knocking on the doors of their employers. However, job security through lack of competition is unsustainable and needs to be addressed for the long-term health of the industry.”
Recent research from Randstad showed that the engineering sector is lagging behind the required growth rate to fulfil long-term demand. The number of qualified engineers working in the UK has fallen from 340,000 in 2008 to 317,000 in 2013, leaving the industry 48,000 engineers short of the 365,000 needed if the sector is to grow enough to support the population of 2050 .
This fall in the number of skilled engineers is the result of fewer graduates moving into the industry as well as tight immigration which rules make it harder for businesses to employ skilled overseas labour.
In order to help address the problem of an engineering skills shortage in the UK, URS, the global engineering, design and construction group, has announced plans to recruit at least 550 staff in the UK in 2014, including 120 graduate and apprentice positions , while BT has announced it plans to hire 300 top graduates .
Owen Goodhead, said: “The economic downturn forced many skilled engineers to look further afield for development opportunities and this has magnified the underlying problem of a lack of interest in pursuing and engineering career among school leavers and graduates. Fortunately, large employers in the sector are aware of this and are beginning to address the issue but more needs to be done to encourage engineering as a career option.”
Engineers Working Smarter
Despite high levels of job security among engineers, employees are refusing to be complacent. Nearly two in five (37%) engineers have stated that they are working smarter and getting more work done in less time in order to make their positions more secure. This is in contrast to 2009 when just 11% of engineers said they were working smarter. Instead, the highest proportion of engineers (39%) in 2009 were protecting their position by training in new skills or qualifications.
Owen Goodhead, said: “Engineers often have to work in very lean and dynamic teams with high workloads. This leaves employees with the choice of working longer hours in order to fulfil their commitments, or working smarter in order to get the job done. Engineers are often an industrious bunch, so it’s good to see so many are now choosing to work smarter rather than risk burn-out through extended hours.”
Job Security and Professional Fulfilment
Job security is a key factor in professional fulfilment and a vital part of a fulfilling career. Academic research suggests that a lack of job security is often associated with lower well-being at work . In addition, job security among the workforce is important for employers because it increases employee motivation, productivity and reduces the likelihood of staff taking time off work due to illness
NOTES TO EDITORS
Randstad Construction, Property and Engineering is part of the Randstad group, one of the leading recruitment & HR services providers in the world with a top three position in the UK and the United States.
In the UK, Randstad’s business lines serve the public and private sectors across Accounting and Financial services; Business Support; Construction, Property and Engineering;
At the end of 2013 Randstad had 1,520 corporate employees in the UK, working in 147 locations (incorporating 53 Inhouse sites). UK revenue in 2013 was €769.6 million. Randstad Holding nv was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands and listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam. For more information see http://www.randstad.co.uk and randstad.com.
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