Engineering Careers Opportunities & Development Advice Guidance - Information & News From Your Career Guide

Engineer Your Career


Demand for engineers

Engineering remains a vibrant sector with strong demand in some traditional sectors and growing demand in newer, emerging ones.

One such traditional sector is the oil and gas industry. Its ongoing and long-term serious shortage of engineers, particularly with structural, chemical and mechanical backgrounds, continues to cause major problems for the industry. Not least as billions of Pounds worth of investments are currently underway in the Middle East, Far East, India, Eastern Europe and South America. If this sector interests you, take a look at the Career Engineer website (www.thecareerengineer.com) to see what is available – and where.

It’s a similar story on the construction and infrastructure side of things too. So while the 2012 London Olympics is driving demand for a wide range of engineering graduates in the UK, Australia’s huge infrastructure developments are desperately short of highway engineers, geotechnical engineers and hydrogeologists.

At the same time, the emergence of the “green economy” is also fuelling demand for engineering graduates. Expect to see an increasing demand for your skills in the development of environmental technologies to reduce carbon emissions, provide sustainable energy supplies, develop new techniques and materials for construction and to sustain sanitation and waste management. The United Nations Environment Programme expects the value of such products and services to reach nearly £2000 billion by 2020, but both the Confederation of British Industry and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory have identified a serious lack of engineers as a major problem now and into the immediate future.

You are also about to enter a profession with an interesting demographic challenge: within the next decade or so a huge number of experienced engineers are due to retire, particularly those with mechanical, chemical and civil backgrounds. In fact the Institution of Civil Engineers (www.ice.org.uk) estimates that over the next 10-15 years approximately 50 per cent of the UK’s chartered civil engineers will retire. This will add to the shortages that have led to healthy pay rises for civil engineers in recent years (see  ££ - the pay). The ICE notes that while this skills shortage will present problems for the UK economy, it represents an excellent time in which to begin a career in civil engineering – the same as can be said for many other engineering careers too.


What the institutions say

While the economic turmoil in 2008 slowed growth in many sectors, it has also emphasised the fact that engineers offer solutions to many of the world’s problems, both in terms of the economy and climate.

The salary

The latest figures from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency show that engineering graduates earned an average of £22,401 in their first posts, almost £4000 more than graduates as a whole.

Professional Registration: Is it worth it?

In a word: definitely. Registering with ECUK as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) is a yardstick by which employers can immediately see that you have the sort of competencies they value.

Will postgraduate study help?

Industrial research is more important to the engineering profession than to any other. A postgraduate research qualification is good evidence that you have learned the skills associated with such research.

On the job training

Most engineering employers offer graduate training schemes today. These typically involve rotations between different parts of the business over a two or three year period.