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Are management positions the inevitable career destinations for Chartered Engineers? Watch

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    I often hear "reassuring" comments from people telling me that engineers move up into management roles after a while in their career. I was just wondering, is that a fairly inevitable destination, or are there positions for engineers late in their career to keep working in technical roles on projects?

    I'm a bit worried as at my work experience ALL the engineers I saw working on the actual design teams were under 40... are engineers just not wanted in design roles after a certain age?
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    I often hear "reassuring" comments from people telling me that engineers move up into management roles after a while in their career. I was just wondering, is that a fairly inevitable destination, or are there positions for engineers late in their career to keep working in technical roles on projects?

    I'm a bit worried as at my work experience ALL the engineers I saw working on the actual design teams were under 40... are engineers just not wanted in design roles after a certain age?
    The short answer to your question is yes, generally, assuming the engineer in question wants to keep progressing up the career ladder.

    It's essentially due to British corporate culture. The technical ladder only goes so high, whereas the management ladder theoretically goes right up to the top. In other countries the two ladders can run symmetrically, but that doesn't happen here.

    Of course if you enjoy your technical role and want to stay in it, then companies don't exactly kick you out of it. If you are really good at what you do and acquire specialist knowledge you can become a consultant or contractor - some contractors here earn over a grand a day, although it should be noted that the aren't usually on contracts all year round.

    Experienced engineers are highly valued in management because they've got the technical knowledge to actually understand the project and its components. Their knowledge also allows them to command some respect from the engineers doing the technical work as well; all of this makes them more effective project managers and general managers than people from a non-technical background.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    The short answer to your question is yes, generally, assuming the engineer in question wants to keep progressing up the career ladder.

    It's essentially due to British corporate culture. The technical ladder only goes so high, whereas the management ladder theoretically goes right up to the top. In other countries the two ladders can run symmetrically, but that doesn't happen here.
    Which countries are you referring to?


    Of course if you enjoy your technical role and want to stay in it, then companies don't exactly kick you out of it. If you are really good at what you do and acquire specialist knowledge you can become a consultant or contractor - some contractors here earn over a grand a day, although it should be noted that the aren't usually on contracts all year round.

    Experienced engineers are highly valued in management because they've got the technical knowledge to actually understand the project and its components. Their knowledge also allows them to command some respect from the engineers doing the technical work as well; all of this makes them more effective project managers and general managers than people from a non-technical background.
    It's just a bit surprising, I would have thought that the company would also value more senior engineers for their design experience and technical expertise too, and surely there's only so many managers they actually need? I'm not referring to project managers by the way, more the "general managers" who when I was there just sat in the office all day making calls or were out on business...

    Being a consultant/contractor sounds quite interesting though. I know there's an element of risk to it, but it seems like quite a varied job and I didn't like the look of the large, corporate environment at the engineering firms I've been at. Still this is all so far into the future, I shouldn't be worrying about this.

    Thanks
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    Which countries are you referring to?
    The lecturer mentioned Japan, can't remember any others though as it was project management and I was just about falling asleep.

    It's just a bit surprising, I would have thought that the company would also value more senior engineers for their design experience and technical expertise too
    It's not surprising: this is Britain.

    and surely there's only so many managers they actually need?
    There will be a few at the top and a much larger amount of younger engineers who aren't yet chartered or just newly chartered for the people at the top to manage.

    And of course, not everyone makes it to manager and not everyone wants to be a manager either.

    Being a consultant/contractor sounds quite interesting though. I know there's an element of risk to it, but it seems like quite a varied job and I didn't like the look of the large, corporate environment at the engineering firms I've been at. Still this is all so far into the future, I shouldn't be worrying about this.

    Thanks
    It's never too early to think about what you want to do in the future.
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    Try doing any type of R&D or design work when you haven't slept for two nights because your new born is screaming all night and your partner is ill. Seriously though, many of my mates are finding that it is as much a lifestyle as well as a career decision to move more into management as you get older simply because you have increasing responsibilities at home that demand more of your time (and money!).
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    Yup, bigger house, bigger mouths to food = promotion needed!
 
 
 
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