Moving up in the Engineering Industry

What can my next engineering move be?
Despite the variety of specialisations within the industry, there's a familiar career path that engineers to follow The engineering industry strongly favours those people who are prepared to undertake further study and training to advance their careers.
And for some roles, an advanced qualification is your only option if you want to advance to a better position. Where you begin your career often dictates how your career will progress with a few common routes: Operators Around 1 in 3 people who work in the industry make their living in this role and many Operators tend not to step out of their comfort zone, with only some taking the next step up to Senior Operator or Crafts person level. For those looking to advance even further, they can do so by undertaking further study making them eligible to become an Engineering Technician before moving into a Team Leader or Project Leader role.

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Graduate Engineers A significant number of graduates will undertake a four-years Master’s (MEng) which will qualify them for Chartered status upon qualification. Thereafter, the world is your oyster. From Engineer, the next step up is Senior Engineer and from here it’s a direct route into more roles such as Technical Manager, Principal Engineer or Programme Manager before ultimately reaching the top of your profession as a Director. Engineering Technicians Technicians can advance into a more senior role as an Incorporated Engineer before opting to take a side step into a Senior Team or Project Leader role, or continue up the career ladder into a more senior position as a Project Manager or General Manager. Incorporated Engineers Progression from here typically involves moving into a General Manager or Project Manager role. Some will then follow the Engineer-Senior Engineer-Technical Manager/Principal Engineer/Programme Manager route, before making it to Director level. Regardless of what your entry point into the industry was, all routes can eventually lead to Chartered Engineer status or above. However, that all depends on how much study you are prepared to do. If you know what route is best for you, see what training courses are available with your employer, online or at your local college so that you can hit the ground running ready for your next position.

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What achievements should I add to my CV?
Like most industries, engineering requires people who can offer a range of abilities to sustain its needs and drive it forward. And because of the pace of change affecting many sectors such as renewable energy or defence, engineers who can demonstrate a track record of achievements will continue to be in high demand.
However, too many people fall into the trap of simply stating what their job role is on their CV which does little more than give a recruiter a synopsis of what your duties entailed and is therefore, a waste of valuable space. Remember, your CV is a marketing tool with the sole purpose to sell you as the best candidate for the job. Employers are looking for evidence of what you have achieved during your career so far and what makes you stand out from all the other candidates who are applying for the same position. To boost your chances of being considered for a more senior post you need to demonstrate your achievements within your current role and keep them relevant to the job you are applying for. You might show evidence of how your aptitude for problem solving and analysing data that saved a power plant from nuclear meltdown. A slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

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Try to include achievements that nobody else can claim. Have you won any awards? Have you delivered a project on time and on budget? Have you developed an innovative product that set your organisation apart from its competitors? Maybe your strong analytical, financial tracking and budgetary control skills have identified cost-cutting measures for your employer? Always try to include facts and figures so the person reading your CV can relate to the achievement and see how it had an impact on the business as a whole. Here are a few examples that you could include on your CV: "Produced a range of 2D and 3D visualisations that led to the company winning the contract for a £6m building project." "Submitted tenders for 170 contracts within 12 months, resulting in a successful contract with over 80%" "Awarded ‘Top Achiever’ status above all other employees who joined through the company graduate scheme." Think of as many relevant examples of instances when you have done something beyond your current job remit - something that won the recognition of your colleagues and had an impact on the business.

Further Reading
- How should I list my previous jobs on my CV? - What makes a good CV design and layout? - How can I make my CV more effective?

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What are the important skills to develop?
Although there are a number of broad skills that employers look for in candidates, such as strong communication and organisational skills or technical knowledge, each individual field of engineering and job role will have their own specific skills set.
It’s your job to identify the key skills that are relevant to the job you already have and, more importantly, for the one you want. The Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies (SEMTA) has a clearly defined progression map for the engineering industry. There are five Levels of Key Skills that are designed to teach you new skills that will be required for your current role and build upon the ones you have already learned. For instance, Incorporated Engineers and Graduate Engineers will be expected to complete Key Skills Level 3 which will focus on the areas of planning, communication, technical ability, working with others and problem solving. If you are gunning to achieve Chartered status your ability to master the skills described above will be a good start, but you'll be expected to develop an advanced skills set at Levels 4 & 5.

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When it comes to problem solving, an Engineer is required to identify and analyse the problem, whereas Chartered Engineers are expected to go a step further and manage the entire problem solving process and implement a system for solving and reviewing processes. So think of an instance when you have demonstrated your ability to go beyond what is expected of you as an Engineer. Employers are more likely to want to interview you if you already posses some of the core skills that are normally learned in a more senior role. Perhaps you're skilled at formulating solutions to complex engineering problems? Do you have experience introducing new and more efficient methods of production? Are you able to develop and apply new technologies? If not, look to put yourself in situations where you can satisfy these criteria in your current role to add weight to your CV. Don’t forget to look at jobs ads – they will reveal the skills that are required for the position that you are planning to aim for, and don't just look at your next step. If you know the skills you'll need for the job you want in five years time, you can start to work out how you will gain these so you're ready when the time comes. Ask your employer about their staff development and training opportunities, or contact the trade association that represents your sector to find out about various professional development opportunities.

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How can I get my boss to notice my efforts?
Most of us are modest about our achievements at work and often shy-away from getting praise for a job well done. But if no-one knows how great you are at your job, you simply won’t get ahead.
To make sure you get noticed in your workplace and get the recognition you deserve, there are a few key things you need to do. Firstly, make sure you're regularly contacting your boss. In addition to regular meeting and yearly appraisals, let them know of any notable achievements you have. There are ways of letting them know what you are doing without looking like you’re bragging. Take advantage of opportunities when you reach landmarks and always look for ways of doing other aspects of your job better. You may also want to acknowledge the part they played in any successful project. By praising your boss for overseeing the project, they will be more likely to remember it. There is a fine balancing act between telling your boss about the great work you're doing, and making it look like you're pitching for their job. Too often senior managers lose contact with the very things that made them succeed in the first place. This is good news for you. Keep abreast with industry trends and position yourself as the person who knows what is happening within your field.

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Time is a precious commodity – especially in the engineering industry. Yet too many of us bemoan that we don’t have enough hours in the day to do our jobs. By avoiding distractions and prioritising your workload, you will complete tasks and be seen by your boss as someone who gets things done. Rather than individual pursuits, most projects you get involved with will be a team effort. If you have been involved in a team project, try to set yourself in a position where you are seen as a pivotal part of the group. Be the one to set up the meetings, update others on the project progress and copy in your boss on all important communications to show you have managerial qualities. Engineering is a high pressure, high demand industry. Projects need to be completed on time and within budget, staff need managing, goods and services need to be procured – the list is endless. Much of this responsibility lies with your manager. So offer to take charge of the tasks that you know you will be capable of doing. This demonstrates your willingness to help your employer and to increase your skill set which by default, raises your profile. As good as internal recognition is, it can't compare with the praise you get from outside the company. Testimonials from your clients or suppliers are one of the most effective ways of getting your boss to recognise your achievements. So if you have advised a client on how to use the software they purchased for their business and they are delighted with the results, ask them write you a quick ‘thank you’ email acknowledging the service that you provided. If you're a contractor, these will become a key part of your portfolio when looking for the next role.

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Moving up in the Engineering Industry

Should I move internally or externally?
Suppose there are two vacancies being advertised simultaneously – one with your current employer, the other with a competitor. How do you choose who to work for?
When you took your first job you were probably more focused on the basic aspects of work such as receiving a pay cheque each month, having a good job title and fitting into the organisation. However, after a few years, our priorities and career drivers change. You need to understand what motivates you in the here and now, and decide if your current employer can match your requirements. Status, recognition, challenging environments, personal development, variety, ethics, future opportunities, reputation, job security and earning potential all need to be considered when evaluating a career move. Do you feel valued by my current employer? Does the company allow you to utilise your key skills? Is your work varied and interesting? Are there opportunities to learn new skills? Is there scope to specialise in certain areas? Are the company’s values in sync with your own? Will your earnings increase? Is their progression beyond your next move? How is the company viewed within the sector?

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If you answered Yes to most of these questions, then your decision whether to stay with your current company or not is an obvious one. Understanding what motivates you is important. Only then can you make an informed decision about where to go from here. If you feel that your current employer is not positioned to fulfil the career aspirations you have identified for yourself, then you need to find a company that will. If you want a management position but opportunities are few and far between, then you should move elsewhere or you will become stuck in a rut. Staying for too long in the same job may also harm your future career as your CV will suggest you didn't have the ambition to move up the ladder. With employers are clambering over themselves to secure the services of suitably qualified personnel to fill their vacancies, it can be very lucrative to keep moving jobs every few months. Some employers will see this as a negative, so If you are to job hop, the trick is to effectively market your penchant for short-term success and your ability to meet an employer’s need.

How much can you earn in the engineering sector?
Salary by Gender Salary by Experience Salary by Job Role Salary by Company Size Salary by Location

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What attributes make a good manager?
Successful managers are able to apply a combination of supervisory and technical skills to the direction and eventual conclusion of complex projects. This invariably demands that they are able to able to work well within teams and have the strength of character to lead a team or group of engineers who may come from a range of different disciplines.
For instance, a manager could typically find themselves managing a team of mechanical, electrical and systems engineers within the defence sector. To do this effectively requires all-round project management skills. And the success or failure of a project will largely rest upon the manager’s knowledge and understanding of how various disciplines operate separately, and together. Managing a diverse team can be challenging and one of the attributes that a good manager must possess is the ability to communicate the objective of the project to their team. Given the complex nature of the industry, managers need to provide clear and concise instructions to ensure that all team members are working towards the same goal with the aim of completing it on time and within budget.

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You need to be aware that not every type of person absorbs information in the same way - some like to see graphs, facts and figures, some need to hear concepts and creative options. It’s up to you to decide what information to give to which people so they can understand the required actions and work together to reach an end goal. All companies aim to keep costs to a minimum and managers are charged with the responsibility for maximising the use of resources – personnel, goods and services – required to meet the expected outcome of a project. An understanding of the business needs of the organisation and recognition of the role you play within it are prerequisites. Managers will often find themselves overseeing more than one project at the same time – each with its own demands and requirements. Therefore, an ability to keep your cool when the going gets tough, manage your time effectively and prioritise tasks will stand you in good stead as a manager. So if you are looking to move into a management role for the first time and are unfamiliar with what some of your colleagues do in other areas of the business, or lack some of the basic skills that you will need, for example, then do some research into other areas of engineering and find out what training opportunities exists in your company. Remember, the more you know of what will be expected of you in your new role, the stronger candidate you become.

Further Reading
- How can I secure a pay rise? - What can I do to ensure a promotion? - How can I improve as a manager?

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How can I make a long-term career plan?
The engineering sector may not be as proactive in its recruitment of fresh graduates as some other industries, but don’t take this to mean that it has an abundance of qualified and skilled engineers - it doesn’t.
Demand for engineers in the UK is at a premium the need for skilled engineers continuing to rise year on year. To meet this increased demand, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) states that the UK will need to significantly increase the number of engineering graduates or be forced to outsource skilled professionals from overseas. There are many instances where we have already seen this happen. However, this demand also creates genuine career opportunities for those engineers who can demonstrate both technical and ‘soft’ skills (i.e. communication, leadership, business acumen). With billions of pounds being invested into a wide range of sectors, the future career prospects of Britain’s engineers are excellent. Although we cannot predict the future with certainty, we can at least get a taster for what is to come. That demand can carve out a long and rewarding career path for those who have the IT skills that are in short supply.

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Rail - the UK Government has ambitious plans to create a 'bigger, stronger' railway which will carry twice as many passengers as it does today. This will create demand for a significant number of civil, electrical and mechanical engineers and related trades Renewable energy – with increased pressure to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions and produce a fifth of its energy from renewable sources, the long term prospects for engineers to develop alternative energy sources are excellent Nanotechnology – the increasing trend for medical diagnostic equipment to be miniaturised, faster and more accurate will ensure the continued need for various disciplines, including mechanical and electronic engineers When making career goals, make sure they are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Aim to develop new skills to stay one step ahead of the game and become a pioneer in the industry, boldly going where no engineer has gone before.

Improve Your Monster Experience
If you have a Monster Profile, you may have noticed the Career Goals section on your personalised homepage. This is a perfect place to put your career aspirations down in writing, so you can look back in 6 months or 6 years to see how far you are towards achieving your goals. If you tell us your dream jobs, we’ll automatically update you on job opportunities that match so you can take note of the skills you need to develop, or apply right away. View or create your Monster Profile now.

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Is engineering the right industry for me?
British engineers are the envy of the world. From the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel who constructed the Great Western Railway and the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Frank Whittle, the inventor of the jet engine, British engineers have continued to lead the field in pioneering technology and engineering achievement.
With such an impressive reputation it is hardly surprising that the number of people opting for a career in the engineering industry has remained constant for a number of years. However, perhaps your expectations of what it would be like to work in the industry may be different from the reality of actually doing the job on a day-to-day basis. And maybe you are now starting to question whether you are in the right environment to spend the rest of your career or not? Solving this dilemma is a simple matter of motivation: Does your work give you a sense of accomplishment? Do you feel suitably challenged? Is the work varied and stimulating? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘Yes’, it’s natural for you to be considering alternative careers.

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One of the beauties about being an engineer or technician is the range of skills that you develop that are highly admired across all industry sectors. You will have developed the ability to diagnose problems and solve them with an innovative approach, or the aptitude to manage a series of complex projects simultaneously and complete them on time and within budget. These skills are in as much demand in the engineering industry as they are in many sectors. So if you are a Mechanical Engineer or a CAD Technician who feels that you have been there, done that and have the proverbial T-shirt to prove it within engineering, have a look through Monster to see what other jobs you might fancy. Rather than searching by job title, try putting some of your key skills into the keyword box to see what comes up. And if you'd prefer not to step into a conventional job, you may wish to consider ways of passing on your knowledge to the next generation. Teaching is a career that can bring lots of job satisfaction, not to mention the outstanding holiday allowances.

What Next?
If you’re still looking for advice on finding the right job, creating a great CV or tips on job interview, career-advice.monster.co.uk contains everything you ever wanted to know, and more! If you’re ready to apply for jobs, upload you CV to Monster and then take a look through the latest IT and Technology roles.

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Engineering Glossary
Agile Manufacturing - an organisation that has created the processes and tools to enable it to respond quickly to market changes, while still controlling costs and quality. Blueprint - a paper-based reproduction usually of a technical drawing, documenting an architectural or engineering design. CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) - a unit of measurement of the flow of a gas or liquid that indicates how much volume in cubic feet pass by a stationary point in one minute. Drywall - a common building material typically made of a layer of gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper, then kiln dried. Echo Box - a resonant cavity device that is used to check the overall performance of a radar system. Flash Point - the lowest temperature at which a liquid releases sufficient vapour that can be ignited by an energy source Greenhand – a nickname given to someone who is new to the offshore oil industry

www.monster.co.uk HVAC – a common acronym from the engineering industry that stands for ‘Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning’. ISC (Integrated Service Contract) - a contract likely to include design and project services, maintenance, upgrades as well as reliability and integrity management. JV (Joint Venture) - collaboration between two or more companies in a contract. Kelvin - a unit increment of temperature and one of the seven SI base units. Laser - a device that emits light (electromagnetic radiation) through a process called stimulated emission. The term is an acronym for ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’. Multiplexer - a switching device that sequentially connects multiple inputs or outputs in order to process several signal channels with a single A/D or D/A converter NPV (Net Present Value) - a method of evaluating a stream of costs and benefits over time assuming a nominated rate of interest applying to the value of money.

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Moving up in the Engineering Industry OEE – (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) - a hierarchy of metrics which focus on how effectively a manufacturing operation is utilised. Penalty Clause - a provision in a contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable to a contractor as a penalty for failure to meet deadlines or contract specifications. QRA (Quantitative Risk Assessment) - a method for quantifying major accident hazards and their potential effects. Rafter - one of a series of sloped structural members designed to support a roof deck and its associated loads. SAT (Site Acceptance Test) - a test of equipment carried out at site following installation of equipment but prior to commissioning. Transducer – a device that receives information in the form of one quantity and converts it to information in the same or another quantity or form. Union - an organisation of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas and working conditions.

www.monster.co.uk Voltage - the rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit; expressed in volts. Watt - the SI derived unit of power, equal to one joule of energy per second. Xmas Tree – the collective name given to the valve pipes and associated fittings assembled at the top of a completed well used to control the flow of oil or gas. Yield Point – the load at which a solid material that is being stretched begins to flow, or change shape permanently, divided by its original cross-sectional area; or the amount of stress in a solid at the onset of permanent deformation. Zero Defects - a standard of performance in manufacturing which should be the goal of endeavour when speaking of 'quality'. Think you know engineering?
When going for a job interview it really pays to know about the issues affecting the industry the company operates in. We’ve devised a short quiz to help you judge how much you know about the engineering sector. Take the quiz now!

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Moving up in the Engineering Industry

They say that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but often it is. Our series of eBooks brings together expert advice to help you secure the job you want and build a successful career. For more career tools, visit career-advice.monster.co.uk.

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