Wales is facing a major shortage of engineers, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering. Within the next six years, it is estimated that companies will need 2,500 engineers to keep up with industry demands.
As more current employees reach retirement age, the 20,000 engineering companies in Wales need qualified candidates to take their place. If the needs aren't met, it could be a very real threat to a vital industry.
Engineering in Wales has grown in recent years, thanks to expansion of firms in the country. The ability to provide manufacturing for European companies has made it an attractive location. With the potential for further progress, the real numbers needed could even be higher.
The concerns about finding enough qualified engineers in the region are very real. Along with attracting engineering graduates from around the UK to Wales, the Royal Academy of Engineering has also pointed out that there needs to be an increase of women in the engineering sector - only 10% of the current workforce are female.
Finding the 2,500 or more engineers needed in Wales is no small feat. It is also likely to require advertising beyond the Welsh border. Wales and the Welsh engineering industry need to approach the search for new employees in a much broader way. This should include advertising of jobs on top job boards to attract the top quality candidates who might be considering a relocation for the right position.
For engineering companies with established staff, the hiring and recruitment process can seem daunting, particularly when their current employees begin to retire. It doesn’t need to be a problem though. By looking outside of the normal areas and forming partnerships with recruitment experts, businesses can find the candidates they want and need to sustain growth.
The future of Welsh engineering is exciting, and the need for so many qualified engineers should be seen as positive news. Filling the vacancies with the right candidates can help ensure that the industry continues to thrive in coming decades and this should not be seen as an impossible task.