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Press releases 2020

Engineering makes up 18% of the UK working population

Published: 29/09/2020

Cover image for Mapping the the UK's Engineering Workforce report.New Engineering Council report 'Mapping the UK's Engineering Workforce' sets out the contribution engineering makes to the UK workforce as a whole and in each region.

The UK’s engineering workforce is over 5.5 million people, with a huge range of knowledge and skills, who are creating growth, solving complex problems and shaping our future. The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession, which sets and maintains the internationally recognised standards of professional competence and commitment.

Based on the most recent available Office for National Statistics data (from the 2017 Labour Force Survey) and the Engineering Footprint[1], this analysis shows:

  • 18% of the UK working population work in engineering, and
  • at least 15% of the working population in every region are in engineering jobs.

This reflects the reality that engineers are employed and self-employed across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Their work ranges from aerospace to agricultural, food packaging to pharmaceuticals, in organisations from micro-SMEs to large, multi-national companies.

‘Mapping the UK’s Engineering Workforce’ reports on the engineering workforce:

  • as a proportion of the UK’s working population
  • by type of job being carried out (eg skilled, managerial)
  • by age and gender, compared to the working population
  • by highest educational level, compared to the working population (also analysed by gender)
  • by UK region (also analysed by gender and age).

'Mapping the UK's Engineering Workforce' provides a benchmark of the engineering workforce, before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This data enables decision-makers, including government, employers, universities, professional engineering institutions and the public, to see the full picture of engineering in the UK and understand its overall contribution.

The full report and its references are available at:


[1] The Engineering Council, EngineeringUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering have  collectively agreed the Engineering Footprint, which creates a working definition of engineering by using Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes to identify which jobs are “engineering” (engineering-based roles that require the consistent application of engineering knowledge and skills to execute them effectively). A more detailed description of the Engineering Footprint can be found online.


For press enquiries:    

Kate Webster, Engineering Council –, 020 3206 0567

The Engineering Council holds the national Register of Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communication Technology Technicians (ICTTech). It also sets and maintains the internationally recognised standards of competence and ethics that govern the award and retention of these titles. Through these processes it is able to ensure that employers, government and wider society, both at home and overseas, can have confidence in the skills and commitment of registrants. For more information visit: