Half of UK engineers have lost confidence in government engineering policy

Paul Boughton

A new Confidence Index from Matchtech, the engineering recruitment company in the UK, has shown that more than half (53 per cent) of UK engineers have lost confidence in government policy towards the industry.

The Confidence Index, which surveyed more than 1,000 engineers in the UK, indicates a strong sense of unease in the industry; not only have engineers lost confidence in the Government, over half (56 per cent) fear that organisations will stop investing locally, and two in five (43 per cent) would be willing to desert the UK and move abroad for work.

Engineering has, for many years, been the backbone of the UK economy. The Index examined confidence levels on a selection of engineering career and industry related issues. Now, nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of UK engineers do not believe enough is being done by the government to encourage innovation in the UK, and over two thirds (67 per cent) do not feel confident that the UK will be a world leader in engineering in the future.

Keith Lewis, managing director of Matchtech, said: “It is evident that there are a number of critical issues here that need to be addressed to remove the sense of trepidation within the industry. The Index shows this needs to start with the government, but there is a lot to be done in a short space of time. Perceptions need to change fast, and the Government needs to reassess its priorities urgently to prevent a further shift of attitude that could come with hugely detrimental consequences.

“With Business Secretary, Vince Cable’s, recently announced strategy for industrial policy in Britain, the one thing the government is doing well is projecting a time for change in the industry. But the Confidence Index statistics suggest it could be too little too late.”

Other significant findings include:

* More than three quarters (78 per cent) do not believe enough is being done by the government to attract new blood into the industry .

* Nearly half (46 per cent) of UK engineers are less confident they will have a job for life compared to when they first started in engineering.

Lewis continued: “These statistics reveal further problems with the engineering industry. A complete shift in attitude not only means reinstating confidence, but ensuring that the industry continues to evolve. It simply cannot do this if both the current generation and the next generation of engineers are not on board. Without this, all the evidence suggests that it will not be long before the UK is robbed of its mantle as world leader of engineering.”

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