Global Shortage of Engineering Skills Could Put Safety at Ri

|Mar 3|magazine6 min read

LONDON, March 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Lack of available data hampers action on safe and innovative engineering
  • UK lagging behind in supply of skilled engineers but all nations must improve efforts to conduct engineering in a safe and innovative way

A global shortage of engineering skills could put safety at risk, according to a new Engineering X report commissioned by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd's Register Foundation. Prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Global Engineering Capability Review measures the abilities of 99 countries to conduct key engineering activities in a safe and innovative way. It focuses on six measures of engineering capability around the world and highlights some top performing countries: the strength and sophistication of the country's engineering industry (Rwanda), the availability and diversity of its engineering labour force (Iran), its knowledge base (Malaysia), built and digital infrastructure (Panama and Estonia) and safety standards (Singapore). The UK features in the top ten of just two categories — knowledge and safety standards.

The sectoral growth prospects were also assessed across 20 countries and six country case studies illustrate specific capability issues (India, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Thailand, Jordan), discussing the context and drivers of engineering capability gaps as well as initial thoughts on how to address them.

The review provides a baseline to help policymakers, educators and business executives understand their country's relative engineering strengths and to identify and address capability gaps that are barriers to safe and sustainable development.

Professor Peter Goodhew CBE FREng, Chair of the Engineering X Engineering skills where they are most needed Board, said: "We know that engineering offers an important lever by which countries around the world will be able to achieve sustainable development goals. But there is no one-size-fits all approach."

Professor Richard Clegg FREng, Chief Executive of Lloyd's Register Foundation, says: "With the global growth in critical infrastructure there is a need to ensure that the availability of qualified and professional engineers satisfies demand. We hope this review will help to close the skills gap in areas where greatest need exists."

The review offers two recommendations for international organisations, governments, industry and the engineering community in all countries to support engineering skills for safe and sustainable development. These are to Strengthen the evidence base, including by enhancing national data collection and reporting accuracy and to focus on quality not quantity of engineers.