A survey of more than 500 UK manufacturing and engineering professionals found that nearly two thirds (63%) rank “increasing the number of young people working in the engineering industry” as very important.

Meanwhile, a quarter (24%) rank “increasing the number of women working in the engineering industry” the same and nearly three in 10 professionals (28%) said that the government and business need to do more together to increase the presence of women in the industry.

When it came to how these objectives could be realised, 77% of businesses polled said better outreach to young people was needed as well as increased visibility of specific areas of interest (47%). For women, businesses thought better outreach and a higher profile of female engineering leaders would be the best tactics.

Explains Subcon event director Gordon Kirk: “When we asked to what extent are these businesses concerned about the future availability of skilled staff, we found that the greatest worry was focussed on the next four to five years. This goes some way to explaining why the shortage of young people in the industry remains such a dominant concern of UK manufacturers and engineering based businesses.

“But what this research also shows is that those businesses also now recognise the need to improve the percentage of women in the industry and are prepared to either do more about that themselves, or in association with government. There may perhaps be one bone of contention as greater pay transparency only ranked third as a way to encourage more women into industry, but overall it is clear that the industry recognises the need to bring more women onboard.”