If current trends continue, Estonia’s energy sector will be facing a shortage of 1,000 engineers in ten years’ time, a new study has found.

The study, undertaken by the University of Tartu’s Center for Applied Social Sciences and the PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies, estimated that the sector would lose 6,100 workers over the next decade due to retirement or termination, about 30 percent of the 2010 workforce.

Unless student tendencies change, however, there won’t be enough university-level engineering graduates to make up for the loss, and at the same time there will be a surplus of those in the sector with only a vocational education.

“The biggest deficit will be in new workers with a higher education specializing in milling and mining where, if current trends continue, 88 percent of the added demand will be left unmet,” one of the study’s co-authors, University of Tartu professor Raul Eamets, said.

The data show that other areas facing a lack of university-level specialists will include electronics and automation, electrical and power engineering, and mechanics.

The study also found that, according to schools that offer courses in the energy field, meeting the demand for workers is hampered by the low attractiveness of the professions, a low level of interest in studying the subject and a high dropout rate fueled partly by the difficulty of the material.

Eamets said that one solution would be to encourage those who already have a vocational education in the field to apply for a higher education, while at the same time increasing the popularity of science-related subjects at the high school level.

Source: Energy Sector Heading for Engineer Shortage, Study Finds, ERR