Last updated: 02.02.15

Do engineers have a lack of career progression?

Engineers in the UK aren't being utilised to develop their full potential in the workforce, according to new research.

The report, conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson, in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, revealed that the talent of current engineers has been overlooked due to a predominant focus on bringing in new employees to bridge the skills gap.

It was found that just under half of engineers believe their company would be more effective if they engaged and retained their existing workforce, while more than 40 per cent plan to leave their current role in a bid to further their career at another organisation.

A lack of career development and annual salary were listed as two deciding factors for planning to leave.

Interestingly, the report showed a marked difference between age groups, with 45 per cent of engineers in their 30s believing there are many obstacles in the way of doing their job well, in comparison to 35 per cent of 20-year-old engineers who shared this same view.

Yves Duhaldeborde, director of organisational surveys and insights at Towers Watson, said: "A company's productivity relies heavily on having an engaged workforce and things like feeling supported by your manager, seeing opportunities to progress and the calibre of one's colleagues are all vital components in getting your employees to apply themselves and actively contribute to the success of the business."

The report also shed light on attitudes towards the current pace of innovation in the UK, with only one-third of engineers believing their company puts ideas into action effectively.

Alastair Barr, head of commercial development at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, commented: "I think we need to give serious thought as an industry to how we equip people with not only the core engineering skills required in today’s economy but also the people skills that allows us to drive up productivity as a whole."

Skills surrounding management, leadership, sustainability, IT and foreign languages were listed as the most vital in order for engineers to progress in their careers.

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