It might seem that everytime you open the newspaper it’s the same thing, doom and Brexit gloom; Financial apocalypse and enough misery to make you want to run into the hills and join a pack of wolves. However, Speedy has decided to take a look at some areas where things don’t actually seem to be all that bad. So read on and find out that, particularly for a contractor there are certainly more than a few reasons to be in good spirits.
The demand for specialist engineering contractors has continued to rise steadily across the UK, fuelled by huge public sector maintenance projects as well as rapid export growth of the automotive and aerospace industries. The market for engineering specialists is candidate led with contractors often finding themselves in a position to juggle multiple contract offers given the dearth of talent in the sector. This in turn has had a knock-on effect on remuneration rates as organisations in both the public and private sectors are prepared to pay top dollar for the expertise needed to bring their projects to completion. So what might you ask are the prized niche skills that suitably qualified and trained engineering contractors bring to the table?
Top transport rates for engineering contractors
Transport is one of the sectors that can lure engineering contractors given the sheer number of infrastructure, maintenance and construction projects that have benefited from billions of pounds of government investment. Although remuneration is a big draw, the variety provided by the many high-profile projects is another attraction for top contractors, which adds considerable weight to their already impressive CVs. Perhaps the most notable of these projects is Crossrail, which is set to revolutionise rail transport in London and the South East. There are currently over 10,000 people working on Europe’s largest construction project, estimated to cost £14.8bn yet contribute £42bn to the UK economy. The opportunities for qualified engineers are many and varied, with demand for a range of engineering skills, including electrical and controls systems, mechanical, civils and architectural specialists. Pay rates for the controversial High Speed Two (HS2) project linking many of England’s key industrial hubs have also soared immensely over the past few years, again the result of in demand engineering skills. The challenges in the design and delivery of this huge undertaking have generated demand for professionals with complex infrastructure planning and engineering skills, for example project engineers, ground investigation engineers and geotechnical engineers.
Engineering drives automotive export bonanza
Exports for British-based car manufacturers, helped by the increasing devaluation of the pound, reached a record high in 2015, the single biggest increase in a decade. Almost 80% of cars built are now destined for international markets. Many Formula One teams are based in the UK with ‘Motorsport Valley’ contributing billions to the UK economy. Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) attributes the success to “world class engineering and a committed and skilled UK workforce – one of the most productive in the world”. Some of the fears post-Brexit also seem to be allayed, particularly regarding the future of the iconic Nissan car plant in Sunderland, which employs 7,500 people. This is all positive news for the industry, in particular for contractors with design and production expertise, who are once again the big beneficiaries, able to command higher rates given the skills shortages that persist. The good news doesn’t seem to end there eirther. The UK’s aerospace industry, the largest in Europe (only second to the US) with 17% global market share, is literally flying high. The design and manufacture of components, the development of highly advanced engineering systems, the integration of new technologies and aerodynamics are just some of the specialist skills offered by aerospace engineering contractors. The industry continues to go from strength to strength and with it the demand for technical expertise.
Engineering talent gaps plugged by contractors
However, while the engineering sector continues to thrive, the industry has been blighted by a shortage of suitably qualified engineering talent. Engineering UK’s 2016 ‘State of Engineering’ report revealed that the UK needs 69,000 extra engineers just to keep up and meet industry demand. Countries such as South Korea and Germany are primed to surpass Britain and make a sharp dent in its competitive advantage. Clearly, the responsibility for the future of engineering falls with the government and business to provide the necessary funding to create opportunities and apprenticeships to develop young talent. Education establishments also have a part to play by making ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ – the so-called STEM subjects – more attractive to the younger generations, and in particular women. The struggle to produce enough home-grown talent is a major reason for the continued rise in the engineering contractor’s stock. The demand for specialists to work on wide-ranging projects across both the public and private sectors continues to be at an all-time high. Engineering contractors in the UK have never had it so good and this is reflected by the rise in pay rates – making them the envy of the contracting industry.
So whilst there are definitely some uncertain times down the road, especially in the current political climate, it is not all bad news and there are certainly reasons for some contractors especially to enjoy an upswing in jobs on offer. And as ever, for the best and most innovative way for capturing your time and expenses check out our 14 day free Speedy trial. We guarantee you’ll be impressed