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A year of opportunity for civil engineering graduates

Graduate Civil Engineer creating Technical Drawings

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Britain’s civil engineering sector is enjoying a buoyant time. The industry expanded by 6.2% in 2017, with employment rising by a record amount of 3.8%.

Any graduates looking for work, therefore, have cause for optimism, but it’s worth noting there is some geographic disparity over where those opportunities are, and in what engineering niche.

Many business leaders believe that, if anything, there may be a looming skills shortage (perhaps exasperated by falling numbers of EU nationals working in the UK). In other words, good candidates will be able to find themselves a suitable position in 2019 and beyond.


Where to find graduate civil engineering jobs

While you should never take finding work for granted, the good news is that over a quarter of the 2.55 million registered companies in the UK in 2016 were in the engineering sector.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the greatest concentration of construction firms was in the South East, followed by London and then the East of England.

While the South West, together with the industrial West Midlands and North West were average, the number of construction businesses in Yorkshire, the East Midlands, Scotland, Wales and the North East were below average.

In total, just under one in five, or 5.66 million people were employed in engineering industries, most in manufacturing (42.3%), followed by information and communication (19.5%) and construction (17.2%).

You can visit respected engineering recruitment consultants to find out more about the current opportunities available.


Future graduate demand will be high

A study by the Warwick Institute for Employment Studies estimates that, between 2014 and 2024, nearly 1.25 million new graduate and technician core engineering jobs will be created across all industries. This number will be made up of natural wastage and expansion in demand.

If you averaged that out over the ten years, you could assume 124,000 Level 3+ core engineering roles will be up for grabs every year. On top of that, another 79,000 associated roles with a mix of engineering and other skill sets will become available.

The skills shortage mentioned earlier is estimated to be, at graduate level, 22,000 every year. While the number of people entering and leaving the profession has, historically at least, been broadly net neutral, this projected shortfall means three things. First, more people will need to be attracted into the profession and trained up. Secondly, more students will need to be encouraged to take relevant degrees, and thirdly the industry needs to work harder to retain staff to reduce turnover.


How Brexit might affect the jobs market

We already mentioned how the number of EU nationals working within the civil engineering sector might fall as a result of Brexit.

But there could be deeper effects that may not be apparent for several years, and that’s because Brexit might dissuade or, in the extreme, prevent many EU nationals from starting a degree course in Britain.

If that happens, then the conveyor belt of graduates will be diminished, and the shortfall of 22,000 bodies a year could be an underestimate.

That could lead to a significant skills shortage which will not only drive up demand for graduates’ services but likely raise wages, too.

According to The Engineer’s Salary Survey, the typical pay for a graduate in the civil engineering sector with a high-profile employer is already £26,000 to £29,000.

Those moving into the rail, civil and structural sector could top £29,194, the survey found.


Civil engineering is a wise career choice

All the signs are that entering the civil engineering sector will bring many job opportunities for years to come. While traditional building and infrastructure construction will always be available, new emerging industries will require engineering capabilities.

One of the biggest employers right now is renewables and nuclear energy, followed by telecoms and utilities/electronic, all of which have made huge technical advances in recent decades, creating new opportunities for the engineering profession.


Are you thinking about starting a civil engineering degree?

Now that you’ve seen that work opportunities for civil engineering graduates will be plentiful, perhaps you’d consider taking a degree yourself.

If so, according to The Guardian, past students’ rate these as the top five universities for studying civil engineering:

·       Imperial College

·       Leeds

·       Bristol

·       Southampton

·       West of Scotland

If you are pursuing a career in Civil Engineering or have just recently graduated and need advice and support in securing your first civil engineering job – Conrad Consulting are a reputed recruitment specialist in the civil engineering sector. Speak to one of our team today: 01728 726 120

Get in touch

Tags: Brexit Civil Engineering Graduates Opportunities

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