The UK job market in 2023 – Some myths about candidate shortages

Candidate shortages

The UK job market in 2023 – Some myths about candidate shortages

In our last blog, we looked at the continued importance of recruitment agencies in a crowded marketplace. Now, as we shift the view to a more detailed forecast for the year ahead, let’s look at how and why a shortage of candidates could be to your advantage.

We know how hybrid working has been having a much more positive effect on potential employees as they seek the right role. Wellbeing is at the fore of requirements in career development across the board, but how does this affect industries that are struggling to hire the right candidates?

To take an example, the demand for engineers looks like rising, despite there being a shortfall of roughly 59,000 skilled employees every year. There just aren’t enough engineers to fill the UK’s growing appetite, and there’s a whole host of reasons for this shortage. How can our industry experts appraise the biggest challenges in this sector?

Engineering Success

The need for technical qualifications is bringing about a wind of change. For one thing, there is a distinct lack of education and training that needs to be addressed. With a definitive decline in technical / engineering qualifications across the UK over the last 50 years, there are fewer young people getting involved in the sector than ever before. The engineering landscape is ever evolving and changing in today’s world, so there needs to be more emphasis on courses providing on-the-job training to ensure graduates are ready to enter the job market as soon as they qualify.

“Ensuring that we have enough people with the right skills and experience is about bringing a greater number and greater diversity of young people into engineering,’ says Dr Hilary Leevers, CEO of EngineeringUK. ‘We also need to upskill and reskill the current workforce for the current and future workplace – this includes digital skills and the ability to think and work across traditional disciplinary boundaries.” []

How do we address a shortfall of candidates?

An ageing workforce (with an average age of 55) means that over the next decade, people are going to be retiring or thinking about doing so. This statistic, coupled with the fact that graduates are in shortfall, means that with fewer new engineers entering the industry, there is going to be a deficit in qualified, skilled, and talented people.

Here are some questions to help find a solution to this shortfall:

  • What do we think may be having an adverse effect on the industry to combat the challenge of attracting those much-needed graduates – and how can we resolve this?
  • Why aren’t young people entering the industry? How can we address those concerns?
  • Net Zero – what considerations do we need to take with the demand for skilled workers in the field of solar and wind energy, electric cars and other, more sustainable provisions of energy, food production and ways of living?
  • What economic influences have influenced the industry? Since the recession in 2008 – to the current day?

While we acknowledge there has been a long-standing, out-of-touch belief that engineering is a grubby, male-dominated profession that involves working in unfavourable conditions, this is not entirely accurate. Although certain engineering jobs may still involve dirt and challenging circumstances, the field has evolved considerably over the past few decades. Areas such as AI, robotics and software engineering have gained huge popularity. It’s time to change those perceptions and work in collaboration with businesses and organisations, encouraging and attracting those men and women who still want to work in the industry – and to work out ways to attract and support graduates who want a career in the industry. 

Entering the 21st Century

The UK is aiming to reach net zero by 2050, and a significant number of engineers will be required to implement the necessary green energy technology. The National Grid alone will require an additional 400,000 workers energy workers to achieve this goal.

Industries such as AI, robotics, cyber security, and app development are all experiencing a huge shortage of engineers. As a result, individuals with niche skill sets in these areas can command high salaries due to the high demand for a limited pool of talent. Alongside these rapidly growing industries, there are also traditional engineering roles such as project engineers, manufacturing engineers, and production and robotic engineers that still require filling throughout the country.

Uniting Experience and Graduates in the fields of Engineering and Technology

In today’s job market, gaining sector-specific experience can be challenging, especially in the current climate. As a result, many engineering positions require prior industry knowledge, which may not always be feasible. However, organisations that adopt a more flexible approach to talent acquisition may find talented individuals with transferable skills from outside their specific field. While a specialist search approach may have been successful in the past, it’s no longer a reliable method for finding qualified candidates in today’s modern engineering industry.

We’ve always had a long-standing relationship with ex-forces personnel, including service men and women, who have served in the military, marine, navy and air forces. They have mastered many disciplines, including mechanical engineering, logistics and operations, communications, project management and many more. We continue to grow these relationships and want to be at the forefront of building a thriving community with everyone who brings essential skills, qualifications, and experience to the industry.

Contact us

For more insights about how the marketplace is working – and how we see future trends developing in 2023, come and visit us at www.redchillirecruitment/ or contact us at to learn more about how we can help you understand how the engineering and technologies industry is developing in 2023 and beyond.