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Be prepared topay or lose out


In your column 'Chartered status = £?' (NCE 4 May) you began with a joke about a mythical new graduate engineer seeking a salary of £25K plus numerous benefits - including a BMW 3 Series. Let me add a little fuel to the debate.

A university engineering head of department (not civil engineering) recently told me how last year a global firm of management consultants offered to take his top six new graduates for exactly the salary and terms - even down to the BMW - described in your opening joke.

Not surprisingly, and much to the distress of the head of department, they all accepted and were effectively lost to mainstream engineering. I don't suppose they will mind as their salaries continue to rise.

Such stories are becoming more frequent. Employers of all kinds seem to be appreciating the skills qualified engineers (from any discipline) can contribute to their organisations - and they are prepared to pay for the best.

You ended with the comment that 'the Institution, of course, will have to be sure that its qualifications do add real value to employers' businesses'. That neatly sums up the challenge for all institutions. Why not add a further challenge? I wonder what changes in attitude would occur if large chunks of membership were to defect to a foreign institution because of perceived greater added value.

Such are the possible consequences of greater globalisation. I'm afraid that this isn't a joke either.

Keith Davis (F)

Head of Engineering Affairs

The Royal Academy of Engineering

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