Engineering Staffing Report: June 28, 2018


UK skills shortage costs STEM sector £1.5 billion

Skills shortages in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector is costing UK businesses £1.5 billion a year in recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training costs, according to a new report from STEM Learning, a provider in STEM education and careers support.

The report found that 89% of STEM businesses have found it difficult to hire staff with the required skills in the last 12 months, leading to a current shortfall of more than 173,000 workers, or an average of ten unfilled roles per business.

Thus, the recruitment process is taking much longer for 89% of STEM employers with an average of 31 days more than expected. The report states that this forces many companies to turn to temporary staffing solutions (74%), hire at lower levels (65%) and train staff in-house (83%) or inflate salaries (76%) by as much as £8,500 in larger companies to attract the right talent.

Meanwhile, almost half of STEM businesses, 48%, are looking abroad to find the right skills, while 70% are hiring candidates without a STEM background and 60& are simply leaving positions empty.

Looking ahead, 56% of STEM businesses expect the shortage to worsen over the next ten years, with new STEM roles expected to nearly double during this period.

“The shortage is a problem for employers, society and the economy, and in this age of technological advancement the UK has to keep apace,” said Yvonne Baker, chief executive at STEM Learning. “We need to be in a better position to home grow our talent but it cannot be left to government or schools alone – businesses have a crucial role to play too.”


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