Engineer shortage doubles in three years


There are more than 4,000 vacancies for engineers in Flanders as supply remains the same but demand increases

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The shortage of engineers in Flanders has about doubled in three years’ time, according to figures released by Flanders’ employment and training agency VDAB and published in De Tijd. At the end of 2013, there were 2,214 vacancies for civil, industrial or bio-engineers, and at the end of last year, there were 4,120 such vacancies.

Nine in 10 of the empty jobs concern industrial engineers. “In the whole of 2016, VDAB received 8,110 job postings for engineers, also double as many as three years ago,” said VDAB spokesperson Shaireen Aftab.

A large number of the jobs go to recent graduates, with many of them securing jobs even before graduating. But as the number of new engineers remains stable, the demand is increasing.

Despite these figures, some 2,000 engineers in Flanders – mostly over 40 – are unemployed. According to Peter Demuynck, general director of technology industry federation Agoria, this group needs additional training to bring their skills up to date.

Agoria also emphasised that more work needs to be done to improve the reputation of technical education so that potential students realise the job market value of an industrial engineering degree.

Photo: CEphoto Uwe Aranas