Engineers confident about their job prospects in 2012

Paul Boughton
Engineering contractors are more confident about their job prospects in 2012 than they were this time last year, according to research by giant group plc, the contractor services provider.
Sixty-one per cent of engineering contractors responding to a poll said they expect their pay to rise in 2012, compared to just 51 per cent who forecast a pay increase at the end of 2010.
Demand for engineering contractors is rising across almost the whole energy sector, including oil and gas, renewable energy and power transmission. In other sectors, such as aerospace, skills shortages still exist.
According to giant, engineers growing confidence about the jobs market is also reflected in their growing preference for higher hourly pay over a longer term contract. When asked which they would prefer, 59 per cent would opt for a longer term contract, down from 67 per cent of engineers polled last year.
As contractors become less concerned about job security, they tend to opt for contracts that pay a higher hourly rate, explains giant. The results show that engineering contractors are still cautious about the jobs market, but clearly less concerned about joblessness than they were last year.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group, comments: “Market confidence has clearly strengthened over the past year, despite the faltering recovery and the eurozone crisis. Demand for engineering skills is holding up well and is one of the bright spots in an otherwise weak jobs market.”
“Despite the economic outlook, skills shortages remain a perennial concern. An ageing workforce, and a lack of specialist university courses, is exacerbating skills shortages in some engineering disciplines. Given the supply-side constraints, if hirers face more intense competition for skills next year, it could drive up pay.”
He adds: “Some engineering sectors are already experiencing quite serious skills deficits. The growth of the nuclear industry, coupled with the development of renewable energy sources and clean fossil fuels, is stimulating demand for process and chemical engineers for example.”
The research shows that the vast majority of engineering contractors (75 %) secured their most recent contract in one month or less.
Matthew Brown says: “Three quarters of engineering contractors find work in one month or less – considerably less time than a typical job seeker, and engineers are expecting that to improve again next year.”
Separate research commissioned by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) shows that vacancies for engineering contractors are up 21 per cent year-on-year.
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