Dyson to hoover up 3,000 new engineers

Sir James Dyson is planning to invest £250m, but says there's still aren't enough UK engineers.

by Rachel Savage

Dyson is planning to invest £250m to expand its company headquarters and quadruple the number of engineers it employs, in the biggest expansion in the hoover and hand dryer maker’s 20 year history.

The company’s founder and managing director Sir James Dyson wants to double the size of Dyson’s research and development (R&D) centre in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and hire 3,000 more engineers on top of the 1,000 already employed there.

Dyson, which filed the highest number of patents in the UK in 2012, is planning to hire 400 more engineers this year, offering a tempting starting bonus of £2,500-£3,500.

However, a company spokesperson confirmed that their current facilities are close to capacity. The new buildings are close to getting planning permission and, if they get the go-ahead, Dyson hopes to have them finished by 2015, Sir James told the Telegraph.

‘We would also like to be well on the way to our 3,000 engineer target by then. But we need help from the government to make that happen,’ Sir James said. However, finding those 3,000 will be hard, ‘with a shortfall of 61,000 engineers in the UK,’ he said in a separate statement.

It’s not the first time Sir James has bemoaned the lack of British engineering graduates. ‘India produces 1.2m engineering graduates a year. The Philippines produces more than us, so does Iran, so does Mexico. It’s not a sustainable situation,’ he said back in September, when announcing 2012 profits had risen 18% to £364m.

Sir James, who headed up a Tory task force aimed at boosting hi-tech exports back in 2009, also slammed the government’s immigration policy.

‘Only 10% of engineering postgraduates are British. They all get kicked out at the end of the course because [immigration minister] Damian Green refused to give engineers an exception. These are Anglophiles who could be contributing to our economy. It’s absolutely ridiculous,’ Sir James told the Telegraph.

The Dyson boss said that they want to keep their R&D in the UK if possible, because of the quality of universities here (which may yet slip with the higher education budget being slashed left, right and centre) and Dyson’s links with institutions including Cambridge, Imperial and Newcastle. ‘We have lots of top-secret plans that look as much as 25 years into the future,’ he added. Intriguing.

However, Sir James, who has factories in Malaysia and Singapore, had a warning for the government. ‘Either we expand here or we will be forced to do it in the Far East, which would be a real shame.’

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