New research from manufacturers’ organisation EEF has warned of the quality and quantity of future graduates may fail to meet industry needs.
The EEF report says manufacturers will need almost a million replacement workers by 2020 but warns this falls at a time when UK skills are already in short supply.
It shows that in the next three years, more than six out of 10 of manufacturers (66%) plan to recruit an engineering graduate, while 27% will look for business and administration degrees.
An additional 20% will seek out graduates with technology degrees, but these recruitment plans could be hampered by a combination of a lack of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates combined with graduates with the right manufacturing knowledge.
Terry Scuoler, EEF chief executive, said having access to the right skills in the right numbers is increasingly important as UK manufacturing continues to expand.
“Businesses are engaging with universities, sponsoring students and hiring graduates, but we need action now if we are to meet expected demand,” he said.
“Decisive steps must be taken if we do not want to see the manufacturing sector increasingly looking outside the UK for talent for fear of otherwise running out of steam.”
Almost three quarters (74%) questioned in the study say they’d like universities to build stronger relationships with employers, while six in ten (63%) think that increasing the number of placement and internship opportunities will lead to more STEM students.