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Economy sends mixed job prospect messages

Posted by: Tom Webb-Skinner 28 Feb 13 - 4:50PM  | Recruitment
Earlier this quarter the government announced a fall in unemployment and gave the go ahead for three major construction projects in the UK. As a result a new reactor at Hinkley Point, the high speed north-south rail link, and a range of shale gas extraction sites are set to take shape over the next 20 years.

Large scale projects like these imply an exciting time for those involved in engineering, but in contrast the economy shrank by 3% in the last quarter of 2012 and the Government is pressing on with wholesale spending cuts. These idiosyncrasies are mirrored at the industry level. For example the automotive sector recently saw one major automotive OEM made 800 people redundant, while another manufacturer created the same number of jobs and increased apprenticeships. Meanwhile the defence sector has seen further job cuts contrasted by a promise of more government funding in 2015.

These kinds of contradictions have left people scratching their heads worrying about the health of their own sector. So where does this leave engineering job prospects? “There has been a mixed level of demand for candidates across the sectors, which certainly confirms the national uncertainty, however, there are some very positive signs,” says Jonathan Lee Recruitment’s Jon Blaze, Head of Recruitment Operations.

“The automotive industry in particular is very strong with a skills shortage resulting in some wages rising by significant margins. A similar outlook in Aerospace has been driven by large commercial orders to supply the latest generations of fuel efficient planes, and demand for sales and marketing skills is also going strong.”

Looking further ahead there are more technical skill degrees and apprenticeships, but skilled engineers will always be in demand. Furthermore, product design skills are in demand as companies look to innovation and modernisation to revitalise consumer interest. We have been in economic crisis for over five years now, but opportunities persist in the engineering jobs market - a full revitalisation may not be that far away.
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