Engineering graduates enjoy excellent employment opportunities, according to a new report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with 81% of new graduates in full-time work and/or further study just six months after graduation. However, there is a noticeable difference between ethnic groups even after such a short time: 71% of white engineering graduates find full-time jobs after six months compared with just 51% of black and minority ethnic (BME) students.

The report, Employment outcomes of engineering graduates: key factors and diversity characteristics, provides data for the first time on long-term employment outcomes for engineering graduates.  In general, the employment outcomes are very positive compared to the overall graduate cohort reflecting the importance of engineers, not just in the engineering industry, but across the whole economy. After three and a half years, 94% of engineering graduates were in full-time work, pursuing further study or a combination of both – 6% more than the average for all graduates.

However, despite ongoing efforts to improve the diversity of the engineering profession, the report shows that the recruitment of engineering graduates, especially into engineering occupations, seems to correlate more with certain characteristics of diversity and academic attainment than is the case for graduates overall.

Although employment prospects on the whole are very good, a black or Asian engineering graduate is more than twice as likely to be unemployed as a white counterpart of similar age and gender with similar study and attainment characteristics. The report calls for further investigation into the impact of ethnicity and academic attainment on early employment prospects for engineering graduates.

Employment outcomes for those going to work specifically in engineering occupations are very strong: 69% of engineering graduates entered engineering occupations after three and a half years. There was a small difference in the proportion of male and female engineering graduates entering engineering occupations; for the 2013/14 cohort, 56% of men and 52% of women took on engineering roles.

Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “This report highlights the value of engineering skills to the economy with employment outcomes from engineering being very strong. In addition, the majority of engineering graduates wanted to continue in engineering careers following their studies, which is encouraging for the UK engineering profession.

“However, despite the profession striving for a more diverse workforce, the impact of ethnicity on early employment outcomes for engineering graduates is concerning and we are beginning to investigate the causes of this.”

Bola Fatimilehin, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “The report suggests that ethnicity is one of the most significant factors impacting the employment of engineering graduates. Engineering employers need to do more to encourage and engage with engineering students from all backgrounds, and across all types of universities. More also needs to be done to ensure that employment practices do not perpetuate environments where black or Asian engineering graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts of similar age and gender, and with similar study and attainment characteristics.

“In response to these unequal outcomes, the Academy is piloting an Engineering Engagement Programme where a number of employers are working together to address these issues, and more are welcome to come on board.”

 

Notes to editors

1. Employment outcomes of engineering graduates: key factors and diversity characteristics

The Royal Academy of Engineering commissioned the Careers Research & Advisory Centre (CRAC) to review Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) data for recent engineering graduates.  The report was written by Dr Robin Mellors-Bourne, Director of Research & Intelligence at CRAC.

The analysis used Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) data, for first destinations annually between 2009/10 and 2013/14 to examine trends. In addition, data from the ‘Longitudinal DLHE’ survey, which records outcomes 40 months after graduation, were also available for the cohort that graduated in 2010/11. This enabled tracking of this cohort from six months to three and a half years after graduation.

The report can be found at www.raeng.org.uk/eng-grad-destinations

2. Engineering Engagement Programme (EEP)

The Academy is working with 13 engineering employers and SEO London to deliver the Engineering Engagement Programme as part of a three-year pilot project that runs until March 2018. It is designed to support the transition of engineering graduates from diverse backgrounds including female, ethnic minority, socially disadvantaged and from post-92 universities into engineering employment. In 2015-2016, the programme engaged with 157 students of which 49 have since found internships, industrial placements and graduate employment in engineering companies.

The next EEP event will be held on 23 November at the College Court in Leicester and is aiming to increase students’ understanding of engineering careers, provide opportunities to meet company representatives and prepare students to apply for roles in engineering.

To apply visit http://www.seolondon-careers.com/profile.

To find out more about the EEP visit http://www.raeng.org.uk/policy/diversity-in-engineering/bis-programme/employers

3. Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

We have four strategic challenges:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
  • Address the engineering skills crisis
  • Position engineering at the heart of society
  • Lead the profession

For more information, please contact: Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Tel: 020 7766 0636
Email: jane.sutton@raeng.org.uk