Boredom afflicts almost half (47.2%) of engineering workers, with a staggering 55.6% admitting that they have looked for a new job as a result of a dull work life. That, according to a recent survey of 1,200 professionals by job board CV-Library.
Whoever those 1,200 engineers are they must be a very different bunch to the 6,500 civil engineers who took part in the NCE100 this year. Because boredom clearly does not come into it if you are working for one of our top 100 companies: indeed four out of five of you, when asked, said your company was “great”, and that you had “no desire to work anywhere else”.
It is, we think, an extraordinary statistic, and one that shows just what a great time it is to be a civil engineer and to be working for – or with – an NCE100 Company of the Year.
Now in its second year, the NCE100 is, we believe, a totally independent, authoritative assessment of what it means to be an excellent civil engineering practice. Analysis of a comprehensive company questionnaire is combined with the scoring of our judges who have scrutinised written submissions and then interviewed business leaders from the highest performing companies.
This information is then combined with the views of staff themselves – obtained from a confidential survey all NCE100 companies must encourage their employees to complete.
The assessment is made against New Civil Engineer’s five core pillars. These are: Technical Excellence, Future Tech, Future Engineer, Engineering Equality and World View, the competencies and passions we look for in outstanding firms. And sitting on top of that is a key behaviour that we seek to assess: collaboration. Specific awards are made for specific areas of excellence in the spin-off NCE100 Awards, but there is no question that the number one position in our top 100 ranking is the most coveted prize.
And this year’s number one? It’s Arup. High performing in all areas, it is its collaborative way of working that gets it to the top spot ahead of MWH Global, Mott MacDonald and WSP. And this behaviour clearly runs deep.
In our survey, 96% of its staff agreed that Arup was great and that they had no desire to work anywhere else. Why? Arup says that despite being a firm of over 13,000 people its values still reflect founder Ove Arup’s cultural aspirations outlined during his key 1970 speech: it is an inclusive company that operates with integrity and helps individuals to flourish.
But all 100 firms in our listing are great firms and great places to build careers. And, frankly, with the opportunities ahead for civil engineers, these really should be great places to build a career.
In the UK, major projects such as Heathrow, Hinkley and High Speed 2 (HS2) continue to progress (albeit slowly, barring any post General Election fallout). These are projects of international significance – one look at the likely winners of HS2’s civils contracts, as revealed in New Civil Engineer this month, show the project’s international attraction.
But equally there is a plethora of projects around the world that are providing opportunities and excitement for UK-trained civil engineers.
Of our NCE100 firms, 65 work abroad directly with the rest of Europe the top destination, closely followed by the Middle East, North America, Africa and the Far East. And this is throwing up great opportunities, with our 100, on average, putting 18% of their staff to work on projects outside the UK and/or their home territory, with 14% of staff, on average, based overseas.
And this number is reflected in what you told us, with one in five of you rating your opportunity to travel and work on exciting global projects as good or very good. No wonder you’re not bored.
- Mark Hansford is New Civil Engineer’s editor