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What is the job market like?

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    Hi, I am about to enter my second year of university in October and am quite curious as to what the job market for engineering graduates is like.

    I was reading a couple of articles that seem to put a grey cloud over graduate prospectus for our generation but that was generalised over all courses. I couldn't find much on engineering and what engineering graduates are likely to do.

    Also, how much do summer internships help towards getting a job? I applied to Red Bull this year but didn't get in.

    I know this part of the thread is quite brief on my part, but I can't really find the words to word the questions I want to ask Feeling quite panicky!
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    Engineers are always in demand... As far as internships go they're very good for experience and the case for many employers is that you're offered a graduate role at the end of the internship. That is assuming you don't lose the company millions of pounds, of course.
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    (Original post by chaz1992)
    Hi, I am about to enter my second year of university in October and am quite curious as to what the job market for engineering graduates is like.

    I was reading a couple of articles that seem to put a grey cloud over graduate prospectus for our generation but that was generalised over all courses. I couldn't find much on engineering and what engineering graduates are likely to do.

    Also, how much do summer internships help towards getting a job? I applied to Red Bull this year but didn't get in.

    I know this part of the thread is quite brief on my part, but I can't really find the words to word the questions I want to ask Feeling quite panicky!
    The job market depends entirely on what sector you want to enter so it's impossible to generalise. Engineering graduates can be found in a wide range of different sectors, probably more so than almost any other graduates, so you have a wide range of careers open to you.

    If you look at the statistics you'll find that engineering graduates are usually some of the most sought after. Most articles you read about graduate employability isn't really relevant to engineering because engineering is a vocational degree where most people already have a very strong idea of what they want to do afterwards.

    If you want some personal experience I found it easier to get a very well paying job than I did a job in a supermarket.

    Regarding internships, yes, they're paramount. From my classmates and those in the year above, almost everyone got permanent job offers from the places they interned at. Some had to attend the assessment centres and pay lip service, others were just given contracts straight away.
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    Ok thanks for that! I seem to get the vibe from that post that a lot of graduates get offered jobs before graduating?

    I'm currently entering my second year of uni in October and will definitely go hunting for an internship at one of the career days based on that info! I'm guessing when I go, I will be able to look around, find a company I find interesting, then ask about internship opportunities. What is the process for them in deciding which student will get the placement, if anyone knows?
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    Yes, most graduates will secure job offers before graduating as most companies start recruiting between October and January.

    In terms of selecting who gets a placement it's usually pretty similar to deciding who gets a job.
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    With regard to internships/ summer placements, the company I work for will put you through an online assessment to weed out those who aren't suitable or studying the right qualifications, then perhaps a telephone interview and then a face-to-face interview day, involving aptitude tests, teamworking skills, character and technical interviews.

    It's a similar process to going through the full interview stage when you're applying for a graduate job, mostly because they take on plenty of interns following their graduation, and having done the assessment, they don't have to re-do the whole interview process.

    Treat getting a summer placement like getting a job, and you won't go far wrong.

    Job market in general is tough, and getting tougher. With an engineering degree you'll be close to the top of the pile of those in demand, but even that is no guarantee - a summer placement with real work experience is absolutely invaluable, and definitely the easiest way of getting employed after graduation, provided you're good.
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    Engineering grads aren't always in demand. Engineering is a sector that gets affected badly by downturns. I used to live with some engineering grads (from Leeds) - they were decent quality with 2:1s but they struggled to get work in the 2008-2010 period after graduating, they were working outside the sector whilst they tried to get in. Their experiences were that whilst employed engineering graduates weren't getting laid off as quickly as people in other sectors were, the market for new engineering graduates was very small.

    I remember one time saying something like this on TSR but the response was "thats cos they went to Leeds, if they'd been to a proper uni like Imperial, Cambridge etc, they would have had a job", but it doesn't suggest a massive demand for engineering graduates if you have to go to one of the top unis to get work...its more like the demand for law graduates

    In fairness, over time they have all found something by now, either in or outside of engineering, but it took a long time and engineering was not the golden ticket to a job that some people think it is, especially not in the past few years.
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    Fair enough, I take the point. That said, of all my friends, (engineering course mates and 6th form friends) those who are engineers and want to be employed are employed. only 50% of my other graduate friends have jobs.

    Is it a golden ticket to employment - no. Are engineers in demand - yes. Will firms take on just any old person with an engineering degree - no. It's down to the graduate to market themselves, to gain relevant experience, and to get themselves a job. Some of my coursemates expected companies to ring them and offer them jobs - hahaha, it doesn't work like that. (though I signed up to agencies/linkedin/monster.co.uk, and got a significant amount of offers to come to interview)

    The economy isn't back up to strength, and will not recover quickly, hence everyone is finding it tough. I'd argue that generally, engineers are not finding it as tough as normal graduates though. There will always be instances where people don't make it through interviews - generally because they have inflated opinions of themselves or a sense of entitlement, but you get that in every discipline (except banking ).

    Stu Haynes, MEng (gainfully employed)

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Updated: July 19, 2012
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