Evidence suggests that recent increases in graduate starting salaries does not appear to be having much effect on applications to civil engineering courses at UK universities.
Between 1996 and 2000, applications decreased by over 30%, with no significant increase expected this year.
Given the impact of this on the funding of university departments and staffing in the construction industry generally, I believe it is time we all realised that other incentives, apart from financial, are needed to persuade school leavers to consider civil engineering.
Applications to universities generally continue to rise, with courses such as media studies and psychology being the leading beneficiaries of this increase. These courses have a more exciting image than traditional courses like engineering, regardless of other considerations such as the likelihood of a well paid job at the end of it.
Image and presentation play a hugely important part in degree choices and any debate about how to increase student numbers in our profession must recognise this.
Steve Mitchell, lecturer, University of Brighton, S.B.Mitchell@Bton. ac. uk