Less than half see engineering as key to UK economy

Paul Boughton

A survey by the Bosch Group, a supplier of technology and services, has found that engineering is undervalued and misunderstood by adults in the UK. The research was carried out amongst 1,347 people aged between 18 to 45 years old and in general shows that many people, particularly younger adults, see engineering as a ‘back of house’ function in business that is not critical to the UK economy.

Peter Fouquet, President of Bosch UK, said: “The findings are concerning given that the engineering sector in the UK makes up nearly a fifth of the economy and employs over 4.5 million people. Combined, engineering and manufacturing contribute around £800 billion to the UK economy.”

The research found that only 45 per cent of people – and only 23 per cent of young people – thought engineering was a key industry for the UK economy. Retail, banking and tourism were all seen as more important.

Respondents also did not see engineering as a frontline role in business, with 92 per cent saying that they thought engineers have mostly technical roles in business and less than 2 per cent thinking that engineers are involved in running businesses.

Engineering is also not seen as sufficiently attractive to young people, with less than half of 18-24 year olds associating engineering with the word ‘research’ and more associating it with the word ‘geeky’ rather than ‘exciting’.

In terms of working in engineering, the research showed that only 11 per cent overall and only 5 per cent of 18-24 year olds would consider a career in engineering and more men would consider an engineering career (23 per cent) compared to women (3 per cent).

Bosch was founded as the ‘Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering’ in Stuttgart in 1886. It is now one of the world’s largest technology and engineering organisations and leading innovators. The Bosch Group generated sales in excess of 47 billion euros in 2010, invested close to 4 billion euros in research and development – making it one of the most significant global investors in R&D – and applied for well over 3,500 patents worldwide. Bosch employs over 285,000 employees – 34,000 of whom work in R&D and a significant proportion of its board of management is made up of engineers.

The UK is Bosch’s fifth largest market outside Germany. The company employs approximately 4,500 people here and is active in all areas of business, including development, manufacturing and sales. In 2010, Bosch UK generated sales of more than 2 billion euros.

For more information, visit www.bosch.co.uk

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