Engineering students are work-ready to fit in wherever their degree will take them

Engineering students are experienced and keen to find a job in whatever size business they can, research by graduate recruitment specialist suggests.

With jobs at a premium this summer, they understand they cannot expect a role to fall into their laps and have been keen to get their career moving quickly when they graduate.

More than eight out of 10 (84 percent) have completed an internship, placement or holiday work in preparation for their career. They are also prepared to apply to a range of firms with three quarters targeting both multi-nationals and SMEs.

Engineering students want to put their degree to the test: that’s the reason why 23 percent are looking at a job in the industry. Another 23 percent claim the mental stimulus is why they want to go into engineering while the practical aspect attracts a quarter.

Students hope their starting salaries in an engineering role will be between £20,000 and £25,000 with half expecting to a wage in that region. Two in five would expect to earn between £15,000 and £20,000 while 17 percent want £25,000 to £30,000. Just 12 percent expect to take home more than £30,000. Their expectations seem well-judged: the Association of Graduate Recruiters predicted an average starting salary of £23,500 for those starting at an engineering or industrial company in its Winter Review 2010.

Although engineering students are confident of finding work related to their degree, they are considering alternative careers. The most popular is working in the energy and utilities or aerospace and defence industries – half of all respondents studying engineering would consider these options. More than two in five would give thought to science and research or manufacturing while nearly a quarter would swap engineering for banking. Research has shown this is accurate: a report by the Engineering and Technology Board revealed that three quarters of engineering and technology graduates go to work for an employer whose primary activity is in, or directly related to, engineering and technology.

Among those engineering students choosing not to continue into a career in the field, energy, utilities & environmental services together with IT & telecommunications were the first industry alternatives.

An engineering career is attractive to even those without an engineering degree: some 44 percent of students studying another subject would consider a career in engineering with the practical aspect being the most attractive element.

Chris Marsh, Atkins’ director of resourcing, told students and graduates considering an engineering career it’s the right time to enter the industry. He said: “This is an exciting time for students to consider a career in engineering with all the opportunities and challenges that the low carbon economy is presenting. Furthermore, the government’s commitment to a smart grid, the expansion of the nuclear and renewable energy sector and a new high speed line represents a forward-thinking agenda that will position the UK as world-leading and an attractive proposition for any graduate.”

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