New figures on engineering in higher education reveal that more and more young people are pursuing a career in the field via university as the skills crisis worsens, although diversity remains a problem.
According to a new report by EngineeringUK there were 179,000 undergraduates and postgraduates studying degrees in engineering in 2020-21 – a 14 per cent increase since 2009-10.
This is nearly 10 per cent higher than all subjects as a whole, showing that engineering is becoming an increasingly popular field of study for young people at a time when the manufacturing sector is facing severe skills shortages.
When looking at the destination of students who graduated with engineering degrees, 72 per cent were in paid employment within 15 months – 60 per cent of these in engineering companies.
Dr Claudia Mollidor, Head of Research and Evaluation at EngineeringUK, said:
“Studying engineering and technology offers a huge range of exciting and rewarding career opportunities for young people – and there is currently a huge demand for these skills in the UK. We hope young people from all backgrounds will be encouraged by the excellent opportunities studying engineering-related subjects offers, and be inspired to pursue a career in the sector.”
Unfortunately, diversity in the talent pool continues to be a concern. Only 18.5 per cent of engineering undergraduates in 2020-21 were female students, which is exceptionally low compared to the 56.5 per cent representation across all subjects.
EngineeringUK’s report also breaks down the numbers across different specialisms of engineering. In terms of the 38,615 undergraduate engineering students in their first year of study in 2020-21, the specialisms in order of popularity were:
- Mechanical engineering (22.5%)
- Electrical and electronic engineering (15.8%)
- General engineering (15.7%)
- Civil engineering (13.7%)
- Aeronautical and aerospace engineering (10.0%)
- Chemical, process and energy engineering (7.10%)
- Production and manufacturing engineering (6.3%)
To encourage young people to choose a career in engineering, EngineeringUK has also published a free downloadable booklet which showcases the breadth of careers available in the sector.