April 20, 2021, by indybamra1

Careers in the Engineering Sector: What To Expect in 2021

By Chloe Davies, Employability Officer

Both 2020 and 2021 are proving to be tough years for employers, students, and graduates alike.

But as we anticipate the end of lockdown in the UK, what will the 2021 recruitment landscape be like if you’re looking for employment in the engineering sector?

At this year’s Institute of Student Employers (ISE) Conference, we heard from employers in the engineering, built environment, aviation, and energy industries about how the pandemic is shaping their recruitment and graduate opportunities for 2021 and beyond.

What does recruitment look like for the engineering sector in 2021?

While some engineering industries have been hard hit economically by Covid-19, others have been managing the pandemic storm well. Recent employer activity on our vacancy board, MyCareer, shows that UoN students are still in demand by companies in the engineering sector. In March alone, we saw over 120 internship and graduate roles advertised in the sector.

Understandably, recruitment in the aerospace sector has been hit the hardest as air travel has been severely disrupted by the pandemic. However, the pause in operations has given many companies the time to reflect and focus on the quality of their graduate development programmes.

Helen Alkin, Emerging Talent Strategy and Resourcing Expert at British Airways (BA), explained that BA has somewhat ground to a halt from an operational perspective. However, they’ve taken the opportunity in the last year to regroup their graduate programmes and are excited to launch new programmes soon.

As companies have shifted to working at home and online, many employers are showing an increasing number of opportunities for graduates with skill sets reflecting this new working environment.

Gabriella Stannah, Early Careers Manager at Centrica, explained that they have seen fewer opportunities in some areas of engineering, but graduate software engineer roles are in high demand due to the pandemic.

This year, we’ve also seen an influx of software engineering opportunities on MyCareer.

Will the workplace be different for students joining an engineering company in 2021?

As employers such as BP and PwC start to make long-term commitments to flexible and remote working, several engineering firms agree that the industry has learned to work more flexibly as a result of the pandemic.

While last year’s graduates had to adapt to a different working environment, one of the key messages from engineering companies at the ISE Conference was that students will have a key role in shaping their future employer’s working environment.

Fabian Little, Head of UK Graduate Programmes at BAE Systems, said that 2021 graduates had the license to innovate and achieve. As the company regularly seeks feedback from new graduates in the process of adapting to new working environments.

Engineering companies want to attract a more diverse graduate pool, not only in terms of inclusivity and diversity but also students from a range of degree backgrounds. One of the biggest misconceptions about employers in the engineering sector is that they only look to hire STEM graduates. While this is true for technical roles, many engineering companies offer graduate opportunities in a range of departments, with increasing opportunities in areas such as finance, marketing, and human resources (HR).

What can I do to get a head start in my search?

If you’re looking to apply for an internship or graduate role in the engineering sector, you can prepare by following these three simple steps:

1. Research the sector that interests you

When you consider the range of industries and expertise within the engineering category, a one-size-fits-all approach will be a challenge when it comes to applications. As different industries within the sector have been impacted in different ways over the last year.

As some industries have fared better than others over the last year, show potential employers that you’re aware of news and developments in the sector that you are applying to. You can do this by researching the projects or blogs of companies of interest, visiting the websites of relevant industry bodies, and attending our sector-specific Spotlight On events.  You can also revisit our previous engineering Spotlight On events on our Engineering Careers Moodle page.

2. Put your networking into practice

Sector-specific events are insightful, but it’s a good idea to be active on LinkedIn to build personal connections with individuals from companies that interest you. You might even find UoN alumni who are working in your area or company of interest, and there’s no harm in reaching out to them. They might be able to give you an insight into the company’s workplace culture. Read more about the benefits of networking.

3. Talk to a careers adviser

If you’re unsure about how to get started with your job search, are not feeling confident with a particular stage of the recruitment process, or have too many career ideas, make sure you contact one of our career advisers. You can book an appointment on MyCareer, and for students in the faculties of engineering or science come along to our virtual engineering careers drop-in – no appointment needed.

You can talk to us about any career-related query you may have such as the impact Covid-19 is having on your plans, how to find an internship or graduate job and how to tailor your CV or job application.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceGraduating in 2021Labour Market Insights