Britain could be losing highly-skilled engineers to foreign companies offering fatter pay packets and better working conditions.
A survey by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers asked members whether they believed that engineers in the UK were taking their skills abroad in search of more money and better work environments.
Almost six out of 10 – 57 per cent –said that they were, while only 13 per cent through that they were not. The remainder were unsure.
Previous IMechE polls found that more students are ditching financially secure careers in engineering for more glamorous vocations such as the media.
The latest findings coincides with a stark estimate by the TUC that 105, 000 manufacturing jobs were lost from the sector over the past year.
The CBI also estimated that rising raw materials costs will force factories to dismiss 26,000 workers in the first three months of this year.
Meanwhile manufacturing employers group the EEF said that 90,000 jobs would go this year and added that at the end of last year, one in eight firms had frozen pay.
An EEF spokesman said: "It is difficult to pinpoint exactly the areas where there are job losses but in our surveys we are seeing a steady trickle of outsourcing to lower cost economies."