The engineering sector is changing at a rapid rate. In their annual State of Engineering report, EngineeringUK outlined some of the key figures, frontiers and challenges that the industry is dealing with. As technology, automation, and an increased demand for skills drive the sector forward, a shortfall of trained graduates and technicians threatens to hold it back.
We take a look at some of the challenges the engineering industry is facing, as well as how these relate to automation, particularly in the food and fresh produce sector. We also explain how we’re striving to meet engineering recruitment needs.
Challenges in the Engineering Sector
The UK government promised that 2018 would be the ‘year of engineering’. Their aim with this incentive is to address the skills gap in the profession. By raising awareness in schools, they hope to inspire future generations of engineers. For now, there remains an annual shortfall of around 59,000 skilled graduates and technicians in core industry roles.
Even big businesses are struggling to find enough people to fill their vacancies, and are instead trying to develop a pipeline for talent themselves. This approach may not be practical for smaller companies, who are crying out for skilled engineers.
This shortfall in personnel is driven in part by the increase in artificial intelligence and automation. These systems have the potential to change the industry. However, there appears to be a disconnect between the technology and those who are proficient in it.
Automation in the Food Industry
One sector of engineering that is seeing rapid changes is that of food and fresh produce. New technology is making food production easier and more efficient. Machines such as Sweeper pepper harvesting robot are changing the way we manage fresh products. This system brings a high amount of automation to a process that is usually decidedly labour-intensive.
Another such system is the Cityblooms Modular Farming System. This data-driven service gives growers an integrated technology for optimising conditions for their produce. With a sophisticated and automated management system at its heart, the types of roles needed to maintain it are highly technical.
Although the impacts of AI and automated robots to the labour market are debatable, one thing is certain; there will be a growing need for skilled engineers to programme and maintain them. Estimates suggest that by 2024, around 203,000 people with sufficient skills will be needed to meet the expected demand across the entire engineering industry.
Meeting the Engineering Recruitment Needs
As the need for skilled professionals increases, so will the challenge of recruiting and placing them. At Henderson Brown, we’re making strides to meet these needs. Our job search tool allows qualified individuals to find the vacancies that match their skill sets, while we offer our clients the chance to locate those much-needed personnel.
We’re constantly keeping on top of industry trends and news so that we can assess demands and gaps in the market. We work hard to find the right people to fill these roles, across a broad range of specialist sectors. Contact us today to find out how we can help you meet your recruitment needs.