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Figures released by Eurostat last week showed that over a third of the scientists and engineers employed in the European Union reside in the UK and Germany. The figures taken for 2017 showed that these two countries are home for 38 percent of scientists and engineers aged between 25 and 64 despite only accounting for 29 percent of the EU’s total population.
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High levels of scientists and engineers in the UK and Germany
Both countries boast the greatest concentration of engineers and scientists compared to the other countries in the EU. This reflects both countries strong heritage in manufacturing and engineering. However; does this relatively high concentration of engineers and scientists leave the job vulnerable to downturns in demand for manufactured products and consequently engineering roles? We spoke to one of our expert recruiters in each of the countries to get their take on these findings as well as an idea of where they think that the market will be heading over the next few years.
The UK view
For the UK, we spoke to Amy Steel, Associate Director, who heads up the Engineering team for the country and she said:
‘We’re definitely not seeing a softening of demand within the engineering sector within the UK. Despite some of the announcements last week from some of the UK’s car manufacturing giants about reducing output over the coming months and ahead of Brexit, we are still seeing strong demand across all sectors within the Engineering job market within the UK. What we have seen is an increased reliance on contract/freelance employment in the sector as employers look to increase their flexibility to meet new projects and challenges in the coming months and years. Often contractors are seen by employers as a less risk option for projects compared to permanent employees. We are seeing some attractive rates on offer too for suitably qualified candidates.’
Amy continued: ‘The figures shown from the Eurostat surveys highlight the rich heritage that the UK has within the engineering and science communities and the global role that the country plays in the development of innovations and solutions to the increasing demands of a modern society.’
The German view
We also spoke to Matthias Günther who leads the recruitment team in the Köln office for the Engineering sector:
‘The results from the Eurostat survey doesn’t surprise me as we know that Germany is one of the driving forces within Europe for Engineering and the Sciences. Despite the uncertainty within some of the markets, we’re still seeing a high level of demand across the board for engineering candidates. This bodes well for future recruitment requirements and for people starting out on their careers. We’re experiencing a shortage of candidates with specialist skills and work history which is driving strong demand across the sector. We’re seeing a number of experienced candidates leaving the job market due to the retirement and the supply of equally qualified engineers is barely keeping up with the demand.’
Whilst there is a certain level of uncertainty as to what the future may hold for Europe over the coming months and years, it is clear that to meet the demands of a modern society there needs to be a good level of qualified people in the sciences and engineering sectors. With that in mind, it looks like the UK and Germany are well placed to meet these challenges.