`New model’ engineers take top jobs in high-tech sector

A `new model’ of engineer with greater drive and better communication skills is winning the top jobs in high-tech firms.

A study by Cambridge Recruitment Consultants found that the most successful engineers were a world away from the stereotypical technology nerd.

Successful candidates were more outgoing, enjoyed team-based environments, took more risks and were more likely to speak their minds, the study of 200 engineers concluded.

`We call this successful group the `new model’ engineers,’ said Geoffrey King, managing director of CRC. `They are brighter, challenge the status quo and experiment more with new ideas and methods.

`Turning good engineering into good business is at the heart of wealth creation in high-tech companies. And identifying people with the right mix of personality and skills may mean that companies have to recruit less of them.’

King added that so-called `old model’ engineers with poor communications skills may have difficulty getting the jobs they want if they do not become more dynamic.

The study warns that top engineering staff are a scarce resource. It calls on employers to modify their employment policies to help attract and retain good quality staff.

`The `new model’ engineers we have identified through our assessments are a precious talent in short supply,’ said King. `They are in danger of being lost by employers and educators through failure to develop and support them and cater for their particular needs and motivations.’

Employers must listen to staff, provide variety, reliable funding and the ability for individuals to make a difference to retain top engineers, the study said.

Studying team dynamics to ensure the staff were being given suitable tasks was an area employers could improve.

CRC also found that technology entrepreneurs were marked out by their youth, drive and enjoyment of work but have been stereotyped as shy and withdrawn.

A high-level of intellect was found to be the best indicator of high-level performance in an engineering role. Successful candidates were also more likely to have degrees from an elite group of UK universities.

John Robinson writes for Personnel Today