In the UK the median age of Chartered engineers rises 10 years for every 14 that elapse. A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, titled Jobs and growth: the importance of engineering skills to the UK economy, concludes that the UK will not produce enough engineers to meet the demand for replacement as engineers retire at a an increasing rate.
It is projected that about 1.25 million science, engineering and technology (SET) professionals and technicians are needed by 2020 to support the UK's economic development. The report finds that to maintain status quo employment levels the annual demand for SET occupations is projected to be 830,000 SET professionals and 450,000 SET technicians. About 80% of these people will be in engineering and technology-related roles.
For the period 2012 to 2020 the minimum number of science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) graduates required to maintain the status quo in SET occupations is 100,000 a year. Currently, there are only 90,000 STEM graduates annually and roughly a quarter of these choose to pursue non-SET occupations. The estimated shortfall is more than 30 000 STEM graduates annually.
The result is that demand for STEM skills will exceed supply in the foreseeable future. Projections of future skills demand predict shortages of STEM-qualified people for all occupational levels of SET. Much of this is replacement demand resulting from skilled people retiring and leaving the labour market.