What Challenges Will the Engineering Industry Face in The Coming Years?

There are so many elements of our everyday life that are dependant on the engineering industry. Even the smallest features of your daily routine, such as staying connected with friends online and enjoying heated homes, can be put down to great triumphs in the engineering sector. As time goes one, we are demanding more and more form this sector, and we are becoming reliant on such technology in ways we don’t even realise. Let’s take a closer look at what this demand will mean for the future of engineering and what challenges the industry is up against.

Tackling the STEM Gap

Striving to create a more equal workforce is a key challenge that the sector must rise to. There’s a growing call to tackle the issue of engineering as a gendered vocation, and the current imbalance is impacting those who steer the sector in their everyday vocations. The industry has a lack of diversity, and this is reflected by the fact that only 12% of women out of the 47% which make up the current workforce, are in engineering roles. While STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) gaps are evident across the board, the attitudes which fuel them can certainly be resolved.]

T Women’s Engineering Society (WES), who strive to highlight and fight inequalities through regular conferences, aim to get annihilate the gender gap through holding an annual International Women in Engineering day. Since 2017, there’s been an increase of more than 44,000 women in STEM positions, with a further 25% boost in the number of professional women engineers.

What Will Brexit Bring?

Currently, we rely largely on international students within the engineering sector, and this is likely to cause difficulties in the years to come. As the UK enters a transitional period with the EU, new regulations could leave posts looking sparse. Research by EngineeringUK discovered that there is a high chance that universities could face difficulties when recruiting students from overseas, as well as experiencing a possible drop in funding. International collaborative projects might also take longer, as the UK’s new relationship with the EU looks set to mean more lengthy negotiations due to new restrictions.

Making Engineering Eco-Friendly

Every year, we are seeing the introduction of new regulations that set out to make the engineering industry more eco-friendly. As a result of government targets, the engineering sector must strive towards reducing its carbon output. Individual countries have outlined their own strategies for approaching this, to help conserve the world we live in. The UK government has stated it aims to reduce domestic carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050, based from the 1990 levels.

The construction industry in particular has come to be associated with a large contribution to carbon emissions. Therefore, it’s a vital area for improvement to be focused on making the engineering behind it as ‘green’ as possible. From planning to building projects, eco-friendly construction engineering is a practice becoming frequently adopted by engineers in the design stages of new developments. From using innovative green materials, using resources effectively to minimise waste, and planning with an adaptability perspective, engineers will continue to incorporate sustainable practices into construction projects.

Engineering-related technology goes deeper still — design and development advances have led to clear innovation in the machinery used for construction beneath the world’s oceans.  Subsea engineering machinery is used to target otherwise inaccessible areas to access resources such as oil and gas. They also allow for the implementation of subsea cables for purposes such as WiFi connectivity. The underwater vessels responsible for the maintenance of these cables, such as ROVs and trenchers, are becoming increasingly streamlined to meet the ‘green’ goal when it comes to new construction projects. These new technologies are at the forefront of the world’s biggest engineering expos, showcasing environmentally considerate solutions.

The engineering industry plays an intrinsic role in striving for change and infrastructural development. As a result, it falls onto the shoulders of those within the engineering sector to lead further advancements, taking on the challenge of meeting a widespread goal for reducing the global carbon output, improving workplace diversity, and navigating difficult climates.

Sources:

https://www.nap.edu/read/23524/chapter/5

https://www.imeche.org/about-us/imeche-engineering-history/mechanical-engineering-history-timeline

https://www.conradconsulting.co.uk/content/blog/how_has_sustainability_affected_the_world_of_civil_eng/

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/engineering-and-manufacturing/the-biggest-challenges-facing-the-engineering-sector

https://www.conradconsulting.co.uk/content/blog/how_has_sustainability_affected_the_world_of_civil_eng/

http://www.sustainablebuild.co.uk/ecofriendlyconstruction.html

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