Survey reveals career frustrations

Engineers cannot see how their careers are going to progress and feel they are getting stale in their job, according to a new survey of graduate engineers. Many also feel that their achievements are not being recognised by senior management. These were identified as the most likely reasons for engineers to seek another job in […]

Engineers cannot see how their careers are going to progress and feel they are getting stale in their job, according to a new survey of graduate engineers. Many also feel that their achievements are not being recognised by senior management.

These were identified as the most likely reasons for engineers to seek another job in a survey of 800 candidates at the Engineering Recruitment shows in Bristol and Manchester this year.

All the respondents, aged 26 to 35, agreed with the statement: `I can’t see where I could be in three to five years time.’ Younger and older engineers unanimously agreed with the statement: `I need new work challenges – I am getting stale.’

Other problems for engineers, according to the survey by conference organiser Brintex, are poor in-company communications, a lack of opportunities to develop skills on the job and a lack of regular performance and training appraisals.

About half thought their employer was in financial trouble and they did not feel secure in their job.

Respondents had a choice of 27 statements. Few identified traditional workplace problems, such as work pressures, or a poor working environment, as major issues.

A spokesman for Brintex said engineering employers need to reassess their methods of appraisal and make sure they identify medium-term career opportunities for their staff. Changing work patterns and project responsibilities are also vital for retaining staff.

`Some of our major corporations already do this very successfully, said the spokesman. `These are the ones retaining their staff who can afford to be a little smug when they see the results of this survey.’

Ken Jackson, general secretary of the AEEU, said more needs to be done to promote engineering as a career. `Many engineers in the union have rewarding work which is skilled and relatively well paid. I think we need to work much harder to convince young people, whether inside or outside of the industry, that engineering has a future for them.’

John Robinson writes for Personnel Today magazine