A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the need to invest in our graduates. To be honest I have been flattered and shocked by the scale of responses posted online at nce.co.uk.
If you haven’t already done so, please have a look yourself. Personally I was quite amazed at the level of (anonymous) venom and sheer disgruntlement that is on display.
I say shocked because, as you will see from our Graduate Awards feature, there are some seriously talented people young people entering the profession.
And behind this new young talent stands a raft of committed employers. They understand that investing in talent is critical and no longer something to be debated.
It was a point made well by Arup director Kate Hall at the House of Commons reception to launch EngineeringUK last week. She explained that her career started in the early 1990s recession when so many others firms were cutting their graduate recruitment. The result is the missing generation of 40-something engineers.
“As you will see from our Graduate Awards feature, there are some seriously talented people young people entering the profession.”
While every firm will have to make tough decisions about staffing levels and rewards, few will now be prepared to entertain the prospect of not investing in young engineers. Easy to say and a quick look at the web will demonstrate that not everyone in the industry necessarily agrees.
While the web is a great place to exorcise and vent all manner of pent up frustration and anger, the scale of feeling suggests that there are clearly more than a few engineers out there who are far from happy with their career choice. As one reader pointed out in a letter, no one ever enters a career in civil engineering to get rich quick. Some of course do, but most don’t.
And it is probably not a civil engineering specific issue. There are probably similar numbers of angry lawyers, accountants and doctors looking across at their peers’ careers and salaries with envy and disgust.
There are probably also quite a few public servants feeling a bit miffed that their rewards haven’t kept pace with the recent absurd public sector pay inflation. Then there are the bankers…
“If you think that you are worth more than you are being paid then go to the market and test it.”
But this latter example is perhaps where all the anonymous disgruntled civil engineers should learn from. Rather than rant and rave why not do as the bankers threaten and just vote with your feet.
It’s simple, if your employer isn’t investing in your career then find one who will. If you think that you are worth more than you are being paid then go to the market and test it.
Recession or not, firms are always interesting in employing and keeping the best talent. If that’s you then you have no problem. But if not then perhaps now is the moment to keep your head down − just enjoy reading about great civil engineering careers and great civil engineering companies in this week’s bumper festive issue.
Happy Christmas! See you on 7 January.
- Antony Oliver is NCE’s editor