Demand for engineering talent still outweighs availability

Paul Boughton

Over the past twelve months, professionals within the UK engineering industry have been able to enjoy the highest number of job opportunities in comparison to 31 other major job sectors, a recent study by CV-Library has shown.

When compared with top employment sectors including construction, administration, education and distribution, the engineering industry exhibited the highest number of advertised jobs in both Q2 of 2013 and 2014. With a 23% increase in the number of jobs available for industry professionals between these two periods, the second quarter saw nearly 50,000 engineering jobs posted by recruiters across the UK. 

The question is, with the vast number of job opportunities available to them, what trends have become apparent amongst engineering professionals themselves?

While the number of job applications has decreased across a number of sectors over the last quarter, engineering roles have witnessed an 18% year on year increase in level of applications. This means that while other industries are seeing a stagnation in applicant activity, engineering professionals are keen to move within the market, and are more forthcoming in applying to new opportunities whilst in employment. With the industry skills shortage widely reported over recent years, this upsurge in applicant activity could be evidence of professionals utilising their established skills to move up the employment ladder and on to better opportunities.

The increase in job applications could also indicate a surge in engineers joining the active workforce – with young professionals looking for their first job, and those previously in unemployment looking to get back into work. 

As the number of jobs increased in tandem with the number of applications, the jobs:applications ratio for Q2 of this year remained almost in line with findings from 2013. The competition for individual opportunities has taken a marginal downturn - in Q2 2013 there were approximately 11.5 applicants for each role, while Q2 2014 saw an average of 11 applicants in each case. While CV-Library has witnessed a 43% increase in total job searches in the last year, candidates are being more selective about which jobs they choose to apply for, and as a result competition for engineering openings is decreasing.

Founder and Managing Director of CV-Library, Lee Biggins, says of the study: “Our independent findings reveal some fundamental trends regarding the engineering sector. At the moment, the North East is the UK’s hotspot for applicant activity, but we are seeing an upward trend across all areas of the country. There has been a growing interest in job hunting from industry professionals, which could reflect a commitment to gaining a greater variety of industry experience, or a desire to move up the professional food chain. Along with commitment from applicants, we are seeing an increase in the number of job opportunities available; revealing that demand for industry talent still outweighs candidate availability.”