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Give us the money

Letters

The 'we-are-doing-graduates-ahuge-favour-by- employingthem' attitude, expressed in its extreme form by Mr Massie (NCE letters 6/13 July), seems disturbingly prevalent among engineering employers.

I have a degree in civil engineering from Edinburgh University and shortly expect to complete a PhD in structural engineering. While a student I have spent eight months working at both consultants and contractors.

But I have recently accepted a job in the IT sector and will probably never work as an engineer again. In terms of variety and intellectual challenge there is not much to choose between the careers but for two important points: rewards and employers' attitudes.

If, as is regularly stated, there is a shortage of good engineers then the only solution is a massive increase in salaries.

The suggested minimum starting salary of £18,000 for graduates, would make little difference unless similar changes were made to salaries throughout engineers' careers.

A choice between earning less than £30,000 after 10 years as an engineer and earning £40,000-50,000 plus other valuable benefits after five years in the IT sector is not really a choice at all.

Martin Gillie, Edinburgh, marting@srv0.civ.ed.ac.uk

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