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Future Trends


  • Increasing fears surrounding the environment mean that engineers in many sectors will need to come up with ways to save energy and prevent pollution e.g. alternatively fuelled vehicles, environmentally friendly food packaging, roofs that keep in the heat.

  • Some parts of the industry could suffer because of environmental issues, such as the increasing cost of raw materials, the shortage of crops (affecting the food manufacturing industry) and a shortage of rain forest plants affecting the pharmaceutical industry

  • Green technologies are worth £3 trillion to the world economy. The UK hopes to become one of the world leaders in this sector creating jobs and wealth for the UK.

  • Nuclear generated electricity will also have a role to play. Building a new wave of nuclear power plants would have considerable economic benefit and jobs for the UK - at present, the government has proposed 8 sites where new nuclear power plants could be built (this followed the nuclear disaster in Japan)

  • Retiring workers will need to be replaced e.g. in the aerospace and defence industry, over the next 20 years, close to 60% of the workforce will retire creating a demand for new workers to enter the sector 

  • According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, predicted shortages are likely to be most acute in energy, utilities and civil engineering

  • Although the UK is still the 6th or 7th (views differ) largest manufacturer (after the USA, China, Japan, Germany and Italy), our share in the market will gradually decline as growing economies throughout the world become dominant

  • However, Britain is likely to continue to excel in some areas, particularly in those involving advanced materials (which means growing opportunities for materials and chemical engineers), biometrics (such as fingerprint readers and retinal scanners) and robotic engineering (e.g. robotic vacuum cleaners)

  • In the longer term demand for pharmaceuticals is expected to continue to be strong as the proportion of national income spent on healthcare tends to increase with wealth and a rapidly aging population.



Read more about this job sector, including the skills that might be needed in the future, on the National Guidance Research Forum site