A career in engineering offers an exciting variety of job options and the possibility of working on world-changing technological developments.
In today’s unpredictable job market choosing to work within the engineering sector is considered a wise move thanks to the growing demand for engineers, plus great income opportunities and career prospects.
An EngineeringUK report entitled Engineering UK 2016 The State of Engineering has highlighted that engineering graduates are over seven per cent more likely to be in full-time employment within six months of graduating compared with other graduates, and Tomorrow’s Engineers has also noted that the UK needs over two million new scientists, engineers and technicians by 2022. This demand isn’t UK-specific however, as the EngineeringUK report noted that skilled trades workers, engineers and technicians are the most in-demand jobs globally.
The issue lies with employers struggling to recruit people with the right skills, and so the key for any up and coming engineer is to find an IET approved apprenticeship scheme or a respected degree programme, such as one accredited by the IET, and to supplement this academic education with real-world work experience.
“There is a shortage of engineers training at the moment, so there aren’t enough people qualifying each year to fill all the jobs,” highlights Abbie Hutty, an Airbus spacecraft structures engineer and IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year (YWE) 2013. “It means newly qualified engineers [with the necessary skills and experience] are pretty much guaranteed a job and can even pick and choose which companies they work for.”
“If you have an accredited engineering qualification and have gone out of your way to gain industrial experience you’ll have your choice of the best jobs,” agrees Orla Murphy, an acoustic engineer at Jaguar Land Rover and IET YWE 2015. “For example, I had a graduate scheme place lined up with Jaguar Land Rover before I even started my final year at college!”
Engineering also provides great income opportunities, with the sector consistently appearing in the lists of best paid careers, up there in lifetime earnings with law and medicine.
For those that choose to take the path of professional registration during their careers, the return on investment is clear to see. The EngineeringUK report noted that the mean basic annual income for a Chartered Engineer increased by ten per cent between 2013-14 to £68,539 – much higher than the UK mean wage of £33,475.
But new engineers don’t have to wait a long time before seeing the benefits of their career choice – Tomorrow’s Engineers states that starting salaries for engineering graduates are 20 per cent higher than all graduates and on average engineering apprentices earn over double the national minimum apprentice wage.
Engineering is a versatile career option, with engineers gaining a wide range of transferable skills such as problem solving, decision making, project management, teamwork and communication early in their career that lets them easily move between sectors and industries as well as rise through the ranks to high level management.
Engineers can move into sectors such as finance and business and it’s not unusual for engineers to make it all the way to the boardroom, as they have some crucial qualities for senior executives.
But whatever stage you’re at in your engineering career, it’s an exciting environment to work in. Many engineers are given the opportunity to travel as part of their role and even work overseas, plus new innovations and technologies are appearing all the time.
Choosing a career in engineering leaves your options open to work across a wide range of industries and business types. Plus, with exciting technologies around big data, robotics, regenerative medical, advanced materials and power storage all taking centre stage, by becoming an engineer you put yourself in a position to make your mark on the way we live in the future.
Published January 2017