Report shows healthy employment levels for engineering grads

A new study from career advisors Prospects indicates that the engineering labour market for graduates has bounced back strongly from recession levels.

The company’s annual What do graduates do? report is published in partnership with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS). This year it examined the career progression of 267,735 full- and part-time graduates from January 2015, 8,420 of whom had studied engineering.

Civil engineering grads had an employment rate of 81.6 per cent, higher than the overall grad average of 76.6 per cent. Mechanical engineering and electrical and electronic engineering grads were also above the average, with employment rates of 78.6 per cent and 77.2 per cent respectively.

The figures mark a significant increase in employment levels from five years ago, when the engineering sector was hit particularly hard by the recession. In 2010, just 69.4 per cent of engineering graduates were in work after six months, with unemployment at 10.3 per cent.

“This cohort started university mid-recession, when the outlook for graduates was the worst it had been for a generation,” said Charlie Ball, head of higher education intelligence at Prospects. “They worked hard, they made themselves employable and they have been rewarded.”

Skill shortages in particular sectors mean that graduates can start on as much as £28,000 with industry-leading companies. But despite the improved opportunities, Prospects says grads should still prepare themselves for hard work if they want to achieve in top jobs.

“An improved market for engineering graduates has led to some employers experiencing significant skills shortages in niches such as rail engineering and aerospace,” said Ball. “This doesn’t mean that new graduates can just walk into a job. They will still have to work hard to get where they want.”