IET points to mixed evidence about a career in engineering
Engineering as a career choice is favoured by only 7% of parents for their children, according to a survey commissioned by the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET). Although ahead of law (4%) and finance (3%), engineering lags behind teaching (10%) and arts and media (11%). Medicine and associated professions top the lest of parental career choice for their children (18%).
In contrast with parents’ opinions is the list of salaries by courses in ‘The Times good university guide 2015’. Starting salaries for graduate engineers range from £24 524 for civil engineering up to £29 582 for chemical engineering. Mechanical engineering comes in at £26 076
Top of the list is dentistry with an average starting salary of £30 395. The average starting salary is £21 982. Law was 47th out of the 66 courses at £19 598.
Nigel Fine, chief executive of the IET, says, ‘It’s very encouraging to see that graduates beginning their engineering careers are starting on such good salaries. There has never been a better time to be an engineers. Demand that far outstrips supply, competitive graduate salaries and fantastic career prospects are typical characteristics of the engineering profession today.
The IET believes that engineers must work harder to make engineering appealing to the next generation — and their parents — and to convince them that engineering is a worthwhile and motivating career choice. More encouraging is that 14% of parents said they thought a career in science and technology would be best for their child, suggesting that technology is the area of engineering that has most appeal for parents.
Only 36% of parents cited ‘ I think there are good job opportunities’ or ‘I think there are good career opportunities’ as their reason — suggesting the fact that the engineering sector will need 87 000 engineers each year over the next decade is unlikely to be a major motivating force for parents.
William Webb, IET president, commented, ‘It’s great to see that parents are choosing engineering as a career for their children above traditionally popular careers such as law and finance. But given the engineering skills shortage we face in the UK, we still need to do more to convince parents that engineering is a creative, rewarding and diverse career for their children.