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Popularity of engineering as a career on the rise

World Pipelines,

The popularity of engineering as a career is soaring, according to data from Randstad, the specialist engineering recruiter.

The annual survey of over 9215 British citizens, found that the automative and aerospace industries are seen to be the most attractive to work in. While the engineering sector came in 11th place, the research showed a positive increase in the popularity.

In 2013, of respondents who knew one or more companies operating in the sector, only 23% of those interviewed said engineering was an attractive industry to work in. By 2014, this figure had risen to 29%.


Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad Construction, Property & Engineering, commented: “The engineering sector is now reaping a Top Gear dividend. While other sectors, like Oil & Gas and Business Services, have seen their appeal wane over the last year, Britain’s engineering sector has seen its attractiveness soar.

“A lot of that good-will comes in response to the sensational PR handed to the industry by Top Gear. The last episode of the 20th series – ‘Britain is Great’ – which was aired in the middle of 2013, was practically a love-letter to the British engineering industry. It was a soul-stirring piece of television that underlined just how much vehicle engineering, design and construction still goes on in the UK. By highlighting the high-value, hi-tech engineering companies in F1 as well as heavier machinery, Top Gear has also helped dispel the notion that ‘Britain doesn't make things any more’. While the Automotive sector is, somewhat naturally, seen as the sexiest side of engineering, the wider sector as a whole has benefitted.”

The five least attractive sectors to work in were:

  • Business Services
  • Utilities and Energy
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Leisure
  • Insurance

Randstad Award

The poll was carried out as part of the annual Randstad Award, which considers the views of approximately 200 000 people across 23 countries. The award aims to identify the most attractive large employers in different countries, as judged by the working population.

Top companies

The research found that BMW, which employs approximately 18 000 people in the UK, was named the country’s most attractive large employer overall, whilst Rolls Royce was the second most attractive large employer in the UK, followed by John Lewis.

Randstad has also conducted research into how well people felt their friends understood their jobs. While 51% of the general public said their friends understood their jobs, only 45% of engineers could say the same. “If the industry can do a better job explaining exactly what it involves to young people, perhaps we can encourage more to get into the profession,” Goodhead explained.

Qualified engineers

According to Randstad, the number of qualified engineers working in the UK has dropped by almost 7% since 2008 as fewer graduates move into the industry and tight immigration rules are making it hard for business to employ skilled overseas labour.

Sir James Dyson recently lamented onerous immigration rules being to blame for discouraging foreign engineering talent to either move to or to stay in the UK following university and even stated that British firms may be forced to move to locations where “engineers are made welcome”.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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