Engineers are now working harder than one year ago

Paul Boughton

Spread thin engineering professionals are working harder than they were 12 months ago, but their careers have benefited as a result, according to detailed research released this morning by Randstad CPE, the specialist engineering recruiter.

In a study of 2,000 British employees working in businesses of all sizes[i], Randstad CPE found that 42 per cent of engineering workers are now working hard and say they cannot work any harder – only fractionally below the national average (43 per cent).

34 per cent of engineers say their workload has increased since this time last year. However, this is lower than the UK average of 40 per cent.

Heavier workloads have brought rewards for high-flying engineers. It has allowed the most capable workers to progress quicker, develop their skill set rapidly, and gain financial rewards. 35 per cent of engineers say a heavy workload has helped them secure a promotion, 43 per cent believe it has helped them get a pay rise, and 46 per cent think it has improved their skill set. In total, 82 per cent of engineers say a heavier workload since the recession has benefited their career – considerably higher than the UK average of 47 per cent.

Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad CPE, explained: “There is little doubt people in the engineering sector are working harder than ever. Spread-thin Britain is being stretched even thinner. Up until recently, firms were reluctant to take on staff because they were concerned the nascent economic recovery could be easily derailed. As a result, existing staff have taken on increasingly large workloads, particularly as the recovery has gained momentum and demand has increased.

“The downturn has been a progression recession, spawning a new breed of ‘super-worker’ that grafts extremely hard and has flown up the career ladder as a result. It has left the labour market – and the whole engineering industry – in good shape. Most engineers feel they have benefitted from the financial downturn, which is helped by the fact a lot of them are contractors, meaning that they are in a better position to manage their own workloads. Engineers have benefited more from increased workloads than workers in other sectors – perhaps due to the skilled nature of their work and the high demand for it.

“As a whole, the workforce has been battle-hardened by the recession, which has left the UK with a core of highly-skilled high-fliers who can be the driving force behind the economic recovery.

Across the UK, Randstad found that 40  per cent of people are working harder than one year ago. This time last year, just 30 per cent of people said they were working harder than twelve months previously – indicating people are working harder despite the economy beginning to turn a corner.

On top of that, over half of UK employees (53 per cent) admitted they have to do the job of more than one person, up from 45 per cent 12 months ago. The average UK employee has to do the job of 1.4 people – the equivalent of a seven day working week.

And the research revealed there is a block of severely overstretched workers who are doing the equivalent job of two or more people. Over a fifth (22 per cent) of UK employees say their workload should be covered by two people or more, and 6 per cent do the job of at least 2.5 ordinary workers.

IT and Technology employees have seen the biggest increase in their workloads over the past 12 months. 54  per cent saying their workload has increased since this time last year.

[i] Study of 2,000 consumers conducted by Canadean Research between 6th and 9th September 2013.

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