A shortage of practical skills is winning incorporated engineers pay rises double those for their chartered counterparts, according to the Engineering Council’s annual salary survey.
Over the past year, incorporated engineers’ salaries rose by an average 11% compared with an overall rise for all salaries in the sector of 5%. Over the past five years, incorporated salaries have gone up by 36% compared with 22% for chartered.
For the first time in many years, the average salary of chartered engineers remained almost static in real terms at £44,800.
The survey says the widening gap is being caused by a shortfall in the number of incorporated professionals. Malcolm Shirley, director-general of the Engineering Council said: `There is no arguing with the facts from the marketplace. The shortage of engineers with strong practical training is forcing their wages up and the position is unlikely to improve in the short term.’
The survey findings confirm the fears of many that there are too many `paper qualification’ engineers relative to those with extensive industrial experience.
Young engineers recently out of university now want chartered status, according to Dr Ayaz Siddiqui, deputy director of engineering promotion at the Engineering Council. In the past, engineers only considered themselves capable of studying for a CEng after 10-15 years of experience in industry.
`Engineering graduates are now trying for CEng status as soon as possible. There is less emphasis on learning the basic skills and consequently they do not have a great deal of practical experience,’ he said.
GKN employment affairs advisor Sue Fowler confirmed the pool of experienced engineering job candidates had shrunk.
`There are a lot of candidates with paper qualifications and little or no shopfloor experience. We need more specialised skills as our products and manufacturing techniques become more sophisticated. For this we need to build experience on the shop-floor,’ she added.
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