Great changes for employers swept across the world due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This includes companies in engineering, which many have had to completely transform the way they work in order to reduce the harm caused by the pandemic. Companies across the engineering industry, such as Waco Kwikform in Australia, have had to work fast in order to keep up with the constant changes the pandemic continues to bring about. Then, there are companies that have paused production or have allowed their workers to work from home, when possible.
At the peak of the lockdown, nearly 25% of companies paused trading or temporarily stopped trading. Across the country, some of the lockdown measures have been easing up, but many employers and workers in the engineering sector have been or still feel the negative effects of lockdown. For example, in April, over 40% of companies in the construction industry furloughed nearly half their workers, which resulted in halving their turnover.
In May, transportation and storage were less affected, and so was ICT. This is because many companies within those sectors could allow their workers to easily work from home or remotely. This is especially the case with companies such as marketing agencies.
Generally speaking, around a fifth of companies that normally import and export are not doing so anymore. This means many companies have had to find a different solution for their export/import needs or have had to change suppliers. This was especially the case for the water, manufacturing and construction industries.
Gross value across main production industries fell an average of nearly 25%, with the least affected industries being the sewage and waste management, as well as water supply. The manufacturing industry was hit hard, and the only area of growth within manufacturing was pharmaceutical products. Textiles and transport equipment struggled the most.
We are also creating a report on educational pathways into engineering, but the report was created before the pandemic kicked in. However, some of the fundamental issues within the report still applies. In fact, if anything they’ve become much more important.
On another note, there has been significant progress made. For starters, more people have been taking on A level subjects and GCSE subjects that can edge a person towards engineering. These subjects include computer science, biology, physics and chemistry.
Technical education has undergone reforms, which has helped students become more ready for the workforce. However, entries into certain subjects have not been on the rise, such as technology, design and so forth. In fact, choice into such subjects have fallen compared to the previous year.
Entries into further maths at A level and maths have declined too. There has been a severe shortage of STEM subject teachers in both further education and secondary education. In fact, engineering has been ranked by nearly three quarters of principals (FE college principals) as being one of the hardest subjects to find staff for.
The truth is there will be opportunities for those who are underrepresented, and want to get into engineering. This includes those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Besides that, throughout the next few weeks we will use insights from a pulse survey to analyse how career drivers and aspirations among young people have changed due to the response to Covid-19. This survey will supplement our Pathways report.
The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of being able to publish info and insights as fast as possible. The environment is constantly evolving and changing. Our Engineering Insights content will continue to expand as time goes on, as we plan on covering more topics. We hope that readers will find our content to be helpful and interesting.