Civil Engineers, Your Country Needs You!

Civil Engineering is a profession which contributes to so many parts of our daily life. From the water we drink, to the bridge we cross to get to work, civil engineering is a huge part of the world around us.

Unsurprisingly, there is a growing necessity for civil engineers in the UK. However the government, and the industry itself, has recognised a huge shortage of engineers.

Potential for growth is exponential with EngineeringUK reporting that “the sector will need to recruit 2.2million candidates over the next five to 10 years to meet the demand. That amounts to a 40% increase, primarily driven by sector growth.”

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) was formed when three engineers met in a coffee shop in 1818. After two years of struggling to find members, they appointed Thomas Telford to become the first president of ICE. He managed to boost numbers and secure a Royal Charter in 1828.

We still face a need for over 1 million new engineers and technicians today.

Women in Engineering

According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, women surprisingly only account for 10% of the workforce in the industry.

As one of the biggest names in engineering history, Mary Fergusson graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  She achieved a BSc Hons in Civil Engineering in 1936. She progressed as a partner in prestigious Scottish firm Blyth & Blyth, and was the first female to hold such a position in a civil engineering company.

Fergusson had an incredibly successful career, contributing to some of the biggest infrastructure projects. Upon her retirement in 1978, Fergusson seemingly recognised a shortage. She therefore contributed her earnings to help fund a university bursary for young engineers.

Following such a sociological step forward for female engineers, it is surprising that this gender gap is still an issue. EngineeringUK recently reported that the UK economy could benefit from an added £27 billion in 2020, but would need twice as many civil engineering graduates to do so.

National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) was founded in 2014 and has been celebrated annually since. It is responsible for a huge growth in awareness surrounding women in IT, infrastructure and aviation.

The Skills Shortage

The skills shortage is not a gender debate. It’s merely an observation of the ways that a career in engineering can be promoted to help fill the skills gap

This leads us to conclude that civil engineering careers are still not encouraged enough, especially for young females. The talent pool is small and the jobs are plenty. If the industry, government and educational institutions do not increase efforts to ensure that engineering is an attractive career, the UK could lose its reputation for engineering excellence.