Is Engineering really that bad career wise in the UK?

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Death.
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I like engineering, I do have a passion for it, and I've always the seen the value of doing an engineering degree since a very young age.

I have always been told by teachers, friends and family that Engineers "will never worry about unemployment" and they are highly respected in society.

So now I will be going to Warwick this year to start studying engineering, I have been doing a lot more research and this doesn't necessarily look like it is the case.

There are so many articles in the Guardian and Telegraph, with loads of comments from people who did engineering, saying they were treated terrible in the UK and given low pay with little opportunity to every climb higher, and that they went abroad to the Middle-East or Germany where they were highly repsected and given double the salaries with little tax to pay. Many of them advised people not to go into engineering in this day and age. They said Engineering firms in the UK just want to employ engineers as cheaply as possible, and that is why so many of them go into different sectors

Examples (check the comments):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...r-sectors.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...or-future.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/j...-engineer.html

Example comments:

" After 40 years in Research and Development, armed with an HND in Mech Eng I am qualified to state that,

1) The pay is crap
2) The pension is crap
3) The career structure is wobbly, especially when you see manufacturing crumble and the prospects get worse and worse
4) The pensionable age is higher than a lot of public sector jobs, and getting higher
5) There is no status "

" I am CEng retired having worked in engineering all my life.

A couple of points, I spent some time in Germany at double the salary I could earn in the UK.

I have heard the comment from various sources over the years that " we need to improve the image of engineers" This was rubbish because the image of engineers was always the correct one. Low pay, no respect. Engineering isn't seen as a profession in the UK.

Finally, I have watched many people scramble to get away from the technical side of engineering into management and sales for more money,prestige and often less responsibility. No can to carry when things go wrong.

Wouldn't recommend engineering to someone bright enough to follow other opportunities."

To back this up, a good friend of mine who graduated from Warwick last year and did the same course as I will is now working at The Royal Bank of Scotland. He was very passionate about engineering in the beginning I remember, but I asked him about his career choices and he said that he chose to go into finance simply because his numeracy and problem solving skills were much more highly valued there, he received much better pay and that it raised his position socially...

To any engineers out there who have graduated or are studying engineering, is this really true? Is the engineering sector in the UK really hopeless, and should I be looking in other sectors for employment while doing and after finishing my degree or consider going abroad?
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dav14
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#2
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If you have a passion for engineering and i would assume that includes why things work as they do and general science, then working at a bank wont get u off.

Wages for graduates range from 22k - 36k and id say the average was 26,27k. Thats good enough for me straight out of uni i think.

As for social status yeah everyone likes bankers eh :lol:
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Alfissti
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#3
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As an engineer, I can tell you this much.

The first and foremost important thing about it is you do need to have the passion for it. One thing I always advise anyone going into it is always know more than just 1 thing. Being a mechanical engineer is fun but being an electro-mechanical engineer will open plenty more doors than just a mechanical engineer.

In today's world, there isn't much room for mediocre engineers in Britain but there are plenty of room (and very good remuneration) for highly talented engineers as that's simply the nature of the industry these days, there no longer are the industries that could absorb as many engineers as there used to be any longer.

Make sure you develop your communication skills before entering the profession as selling your or your firm's engineering expertise will be your main task.
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fightingduck
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#4
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In the Isle of Man there are a lot of Aerospace Engineering companies, world renowned ones, obviously the higher you get into management the more you will earn, but I believe that the sector on the Island is doing very well
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+ polarity -
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My Experience"The country needs more engineers! ...Not you bro."
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black_mamba
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I used to be an engineer in the UK and trust me, the market is great in general - there are bad cases in every industry! There is more money in finance sure, but who cares about your social position? If you're passionate about engineering you will have a great time.

Personally I regard an engineer as more bad ass than someone in finance anyway. ;-)
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John Stuart Mill
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err... you would think not given all the moaners on the daily telegraph.
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black_mamba
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(Original post by John Stuart Mill)
err... you would think not given all the moaners on the daily telegraph.
True but those people's experiences are not the only ones and my experience is not the only one either.

I'm easily pleased though, salaries are not high up on my priority list. If they are for the OP then I can see why they would be concerned.
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dontdoit
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I graduated in 1993 with a 1st from a good university. I was already a HNC qualified design engineer in the Automotive industry. My passion for Engineering cost me a lot. Drug addicts are passionate about drugs, and look where it gets them.

Some are lucky and get into relatively stable companies and progress. But even these people will never progress as far as an accountancy career will get you.

Your wife/girlfriend/landlord/building society do not care about your passion for engineering, and do not care for your umpteenth redundancy as another company offshores to China or replaces you with a Czech/Chinese cheaper employee.

I urge anyone considering an engineering job to think seriously about it.

Choosing Engineering will be the worst mistake you make in your life. This isn't Germany.
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tackytee
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I'm passionate about engineering, electronics is still my hobby and have spent 37 years in industry, but would not recommend it as a profession. It's not just the money and status, most of the time in design and development you're not designing new stuff or being creative, but just performing boring tasks. Pursue it as a hobby, but find something like banking to bring in the dosh!
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username1599557
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#11
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Well this thread just gave me a slap to the face.
Is computer engineering still worth anything in the UK?
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TartarusEnosa
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#12
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Great. Destroy my dreams why don't you.
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username1599557
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(Original post by TartarusEnosa)
Great. Destroy my dreams why don't you.
Oh cheer up now. Engineers have a broad range of job options. And you learn epic things.
All degrees will have their pros and cons.
Don't give up on your dream, and work your arse off til you reach it.
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Juichiro
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(Original post by black_mamba)
I used to be an engineer in the UK and trust me, the market is great in general - there are bad cases in every industry! There is more money in finance sure, but who cares about your social position? If you're passionate about engineering you will have a great time.

Personally I regard an engineer as more bad ass than someone in finance anyway. ;-)
I inferred that you are still an engineer but abroad. Why?
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Pumpk1n
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#15
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(Original post by Death.)
I like engineering, I do have a passion for it, and I've always the seen the value of doing an engineering degree since a very young age.

I have always been told by teachers, friends and family that Engineers "will never worry about unemployment" and they are highly respected in society.

So now I will be going to Warwick this year to start studying engineering, I have been doing a lot more research and this doesn't necessarily look like it is the case.

There are so many articles in the Guardian and Telegraph, with loads of comments from people who did engineering, saying they were treated terrible in the UK and given low pay with little opportunity to every climb higher, and that they went abroad to the Middle-East or Germany where they were highly repsected and given double the salaries with little tax to pay. Many of them advised people not to go into engineering in this day and age. They said Engineering firms in the UK just want to employ engineers as cheaply as possible, and that is why so many of them go into different sectors

Examples (check the comments):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...r-sectors.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...or-future.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/j...-engineer.html

Example comments:

" After 40 years in Research and Development, armed with an HND in Mech Eng I am qualified to state that,

1) The pay is crap
2) The pension is crap
3) The career structure is wobbly, especially when you see manufacturing crumble and the prospects get worse and worse
4) The pensionable age is higher than a lot of public sector jobs, and getting higher
5) There is no status "

" I am CEng retired having worked in engineering all my life.

A couple of points, I spent some time in Germany at double the salary I could earn in the UK.

I have heard the comment from various sources over the years that " we need to improve the image of engineers" This was rubbish because the image of engineers was always the correct one. Low pay, no respect. Engineering isn't seen as a profession in the UK.

Finally, I have watched many people scramble to get away from the technical side of engineering into management and sales for more money,prestige and often less responsibility. No can to carry when things go wrong.

Wouldn't recommend engineering to someone bright enough to follow other opportunities."

To back this up, a good friend of mine who graduated from Warwick last year and did the same course as I will is now working at The Royal Bank of Scotland. He was very passionate about engineering in the beginning I remember, but I asked him about his career choices and he said that he chose to go into finance simply because his numeracy and problem solving skills were much more highly valued there, he received much better pay and that it raised his position socially...

To any engineers out there who have graduated or are studying engineering, is this really true? Is the engineering sector in the UK really hopeless, and should I be looking in other sectors for employment while doing and after finishing my degree or consider going abroad?

It's a highly rewarding career for the right talent. It doesn't matter which profession it is, there will always be people who burn out, picked the wrong degree or are very passive with regards to their careers. UK pays very well for people who bring value. Make sure to communicate well with others, sell yourself and learn to work hard, the sky is you ceiling then.
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stop_wait_no_...
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There's a reason why so many people will tell you that you can work in almost any profession with an engineering degree...

...most engineering graduates who want to afford a mortgage and general cost of living for anything resembling what quality of life used to look like before New Labour took power have migrated to the better grazing of other industries.

Engineering institutions continue to peddle the same rubbish about shortages of engineers (totally undermining their own), when what they really mean is that they are resisting improving pay and conditions, and filling their ranks with as many foreigner engineers desperate to get "worked in the UK" on their CVs (or more, i.e.: a UK/EU passport from an anglophone country).
Engineering working environments are filled with sociopaths, and terrible managers. It is an unrewarding career for most.
The other aspect of this, is that the cache of a degree is over, so many people have so many of them, that employers are more interested in what you can actually do, or have done. Though of course, you have to get past the HR orcs, for which you need the pointless and expensive paper that signifies nothing in terms of actual ability. This toxic mix means that employers are demanding ready-made employees who are paradoxically both entry level and experienced in all kinds of arcane acronymical technotwaddle. The correct response to this is to walk away. Leave the world of engineering to the developing world, and go for something more creative and inventive. You could go abroad and help train them, but you'll need networking, and a portfolio, and maybe languages too add to your Mozartesque CV.

The moment you start talking about having a "passion" and other such cliched platitudes, you are signalling to an employer that you are desperate or an idiot, and will beg to work for less than you are worth.

Degrees are not worth the debt, get experience from your teenage years, and make your own company - add the decoration of degrees later without the debt - they are after all just a pretence that one has talent and earnt their position, when life will gradually reveal the "helping hands" of wealth, politics and cronyism that really determines outcomes, and feeds cynicism. Workplaces where there is little creativity are full of power plays: money and threats.

It's a bleak read, I know, but universities and engineering institutions peddle such fantasy about graduate careers, because it's in their interests to. This of this as a clarion to try to not be naive.
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hero
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#17
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(Original post by dontdoit)
I graduated in 1993 with a 1st from a good university. I was already a HNC qualified design engineer in the Automotive industry. My passion for Engineering cost me a lot. Drug addicts are passionate about drugs, and look where it gets them.

Some are lucky and get into relatively stable companies and progress. But even these people will never progress as far as an accountancy career will get you.

Your wife/girlfriend/landlord/building society do not care about your passion for engineering, and do not care for your umpteenth redundancy as another company offshores to China or replaces you with a Czech/Chinese cheaper employee.

I urge anyone considering an engineering job to think seriously about it.

Choosing Engineering will be the worst mistake you make in your life. This isn't Germany.
Are you sure about accountancy? Accountancy takes 3 years of training after uni and then they are usually on 35-40k.
I am unsure of the true earning potential but I would say average its around 60k...
But they do have the flexibility to work in any company with a finance department so that is good.
I'm working in engineering now in the energy industry. Im earning early 30s after being in the firm for 2 years. Some people above me by just one year are already on early 40s. Managers are on 60-70k plus bonuses. Surely that matches most accountants?

But I guess it is true that progression is not stable though as I know some people who have worked for 5 years in the same company as me and are on less than 40k.
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Helloworld_95
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#18
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It seems like a lot of views in this thread would equally be seen in most other careers nowadays.
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trapking
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(Original post by + polarity -)
My Experience"The country needs more engineers! ...Not you bro."
so true :lol:
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endzone123
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i suspect much of the whining comes from crusty old HND holders who've seen software eat away at their value. and egotists who compare every job to the cream of the financial industry. enjoy working 90 hours a week updating excel "models" for the supposed status it confers!

also repeats myths about engineering salaries in germany.
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