The intake of engineering students is insufficient

The green transformation and planned digitisation of Denmark is threatened by lower enrolment in IT and engineering courses.

This year's inventory from the Danish Ministry of Education and Research shows a significance decrease in the number of young people who have been accepted into Denmark's engineering programmes compared to 2019. IDA finds that this is a cause for concern.

In 2020 and 2021, the government had guaranteed more places for students due to the corona situation, but this year's admissions show that eight percent fewer have been admitted to a bachelor’s programme in engineering, while six percent fewer have been admitted to a engineering master's programme compared to last year.

Compared to the admissions in 2019, nine percent fewer even got a place on a bachelor-level engineering study, while one percent more can start a training as an MA. The overall picture is a decline of four percent, and therefore presents a huge roadblock for Denmark's growth opportunities, says Chairperson of IDA, Laura Klitgaard. She emphasizes that graduates with qualifications in IT and engineering are already in demand in the labour market.

"Danish companies are already starved for labour in these areas and are inclined to steal employees from each other. With the impending green transition and the widespread digitisation of society as a whole, the demand for engineers and IT graduates will only increase. In retrospection, we have come to look back on the corona period as a positive period, which doesn't make sense," she says

Laura Klitgaard finds it disappointing that it takes a pandemic to increase enrolment in engineering programmes, and she would have liked to see the high 2020 intake level maintained.

"That would have made sense. It seems illogical that we are now faced with a lower intake. Whether it's discontinued English language programmes or not is less central. The reality is that a lower intake for IT and engineering degrees is going to hurt," she says.

According to a forecast by IRIS Group and HBS Economics IDA, Denmark will be short of 13,000 STEM graduates by 2030. In addition, we will see a shortage of 7,000 people with a medium-level technical or IT education.

That's why Laura Klitgaard, who also chairs the technology alliance Engineer the Future, is worried what the future will bring if the challenge is not seriously addressed from a political point of view.

"Political action is needed because the picture is bleak. It is therefore imperative that we also see an increase in intake if business demand is to be met. If we are left with just one qualified applicant for IT and engineering courses, that is a sign of lack of foresight," she says.