Engineers and skilled specialists are mostly sought after around the globe

Engineers and skilled specialists are mostly sought after around the globe

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Engineers and skilled specialists are mostly sought after around the globe

TextileFuture has already reported that especially in highly industrialised countries, but also in China, engineers and skilled specialists are mostly thought after around the globe. Thanks to a report of the Institute of the German Economy (IW) in Cologne, and including comparative international figures, it is possible to throw some more light on the latest development

The basics

In Germany 2002 there were 47 % openings for engineers in companies and in the industry, the total share of the group was 64 %. In 2004 there were 15000 positions for engineers that couldn’t be filled. In 2011 there were monthly openings for 92000 engineers and a total loss of added value in the order of EUR 8 billion. With intensive campaigns, however the number of occupational engineers increased from 2005 1.4 million to today 1.62 million, reflecting an increase of 16 %. Interestingly enough, the winners were predominantly the age group 50+, they increased by 32 %. Also the number of female and foreign engineers increased both by over 30 %, as well as the share of social security based contracts – a common factor for German engineering employees – increased from 76.2 % to 78.1 %.

Let’s look at the situation in Switzerland: In 2009 (March) the engineering openings that could not be filled, amounted to 14088. For details revert to table 1

Swiss Engineering openings as of March 2009

Category Numbers
IT 3688
Electric Engineers 1085
Mechanical Engineers 930
Micro-Engineers 862
Industrial Engineers 185
Other Engineering Fields 1287
Subtotal  8037
Civil Engineering 2879
Planning and Surveyer Engineers 508
Architects 784
Subtotal Civil Engineering 4171
Chemical and Process Engineers 94
Bio-Technology and Life Science Engineers 374
Pharmaceutical and Medical Engineers 530
Subtotal Chemical and Life Sciences Engineers 998
Geografical Engineers -15
Exact Sciences Engineers 191
Other Engineering subfields 691
Grand total of all categories of Engineers 14088
Source: economiesuisse  September 5, 2011  

The share of foreigners in engineering

Engineers with a foreign passport are mostly of European nationality and the three leading nations are the Russian Federation with 15000, followed by Poland with 11000 and France with 10000. But there are also 5300 from Iran, 4900 from India and 3800 from China and 7200 from Turkey working in Germany.

Also the persons leaving German universities with an engineering degree increased in the same lapse of time by 66 % or from 34’000 to 56’000. Those additional engineers will meet great demand because of the challenges such as the politically decided turnaround in the energy policy. It is noteworthy that 13 % of these engineers are of foreign nationality. In other kind of studies this segment represents only nine percent. There is also a negative factor to report on this segment: there is a large number leaving Germany after successful completion of their studies. Of all working engineers in Germany only around 10 % are of foreign nationality. VDI and German firms aim to increase this potential in the future.

The share of foreign engineers in Switzerland can be had from table 2

The share of new Foreign Engineers employed in Switzerland 2000 – 2007

Category 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Engineers 3453 3595 2758 2190 2533 2875 3895 5208
IT professions 3287 3500 2798 2382 2476 2808 4051 4855
Source: economiesuisse 5. September 2011

The age structure of employed engineers in Switzerland are shown in table 3

European Age Structure of Employed Engineers in 2007

Country / Age Bracket 15 – 34 35 – 44 45 -55 55 +
Percentage % % % %
Bulgaria 19.6 26.4 36.4 17.6
Norway 22.7 34.6 23.1 19.6
Germany 24.2 34.8 27.6 13.4
Switzerland 27.1 27.2 24.1 21.6
Netherlands 28.1 32.1 23.6 16.1
Lituania 28.6 16.7 35.6 19.0
Great Britain 29.0 29.4 22.5 19.1
Greece 29.1 27.6 27.5 15.7
Romania 31.3 24.3 33.1 11.3
Average 31.5 29.6 23.8 15.1
Denmark 32.1 31.5 18.5 18.0
France 32.2 29.9 23.4 14.5
Czech Republic 32.4 19.7 25.9 22.0
Sweden 32.5 31.9 18.5 17.1
Austria 33.8 38.8 16.8 12.5
Italy 34.5 33.5 19.1 12.9
Slovak Republic 34.7 23.0 21.6 20.8
Cyprus 37.0 22.7 31.7 8.6
Hungary 37.2 19.9 23.9 19.0
Slovenia 37.8 28.2 24.2 9.9
Finland 38.2 21.8 23.8 16.3
Belgium 39.7 30.1 18.7 11.6
Poland 43.8 16.8 21.4 18.1
Ireland 49.0 29.6 12.3 9.3
Spain 49.5 25.2 13.2 12.0
Source: European Engineering Report

Some more detailed facts, also on female engineers

According to international statistics, and in view to the total students in all disciplines in Germany, the female student population represents 56 % who are completing their studies successfully, but in engineering sectors the number remained at 22 %, thus the value in the international  statistic is just above 5 % translating into the fact the only every 20th successful study termination of females takes place in engineering, whereas the male students’ figure is around 23 %. It is a fact worldwide that females are selecting other study fields than males, therefore it is still a missing element in the innovative field of engineering sciences. The report reveals further that in all participating countries the share of female engineers terminating successfully their studies lays beyond 10 %.

The female share in engineering in several countries is presented in table 4

The Female Share of Europan employed Engineers in 2007

Country Share in %
Great Britain 8.5
Switzerland 9.5
Austria 11.1
Finland 14.5
Ireland 14.6
Germany 15.0
Denmark 15.7
Average 16.6
Spain 16.9
France 16.9
Slovak Republic 18.2
Hungary 18.6
Netherlands 18.8
Belgium 19.1
Italy 20.1
Norway 20.3
Czech Republic 20.3
Greece 20.6
Portugal 24.2
Poland 25.4
Slovenia 25.5
Cyprus 26.1
Lithuania 27.5
Croatia 28.6
Bulgaria 29.6
Latvia 30.6
Source: European Engineering Report

The occupational weekly hours for German engineers amount to 40 hours. This is the real working time invested, however, to find a true value for the entire group, also temporary employment figures are included. Male engineers were working real time 41.6 hours whereas female engineers averaged only 33.7 hours and because they are willingly accepting to work part time, however 68 % of all female engineers and 94 % of all male engineers meet a full time working engagement. The share of forced part time settles around 20 %. Part time employed engineers don’t want or haven’t for private reasons the possibility to work full time. Thus, the remedy of an increase per capita working volume would not be reasonable. The study by the Institute of the German Economy in Cologne recommends however the possibility to extend the caring capacities and structures to accommodate babies beyond the age of three, and in order to improve career chances for female engineers and to follow also a full time engagement instead of a part time job.

The remuneration side

Another aspect represents remuneration for freshly graduated in the world of engineers – in general, and according to the latest survey results they show an increasing potential of content in view to income and career possibilities as well as continued basic and advanced training possibilities. Graduates of technical universities in electric technology have one year after their diploma an average annual income of EUR 42650, an industrial engineer (technical university level) of EUR 42450 and graduates from universities and in Engineering (without civil engineering) EUR 40100, economic scientists (with diploma from a university) EUR 32850 and the average of all traditional and technical universities amounts to EUR 25600 respectively EUR 33900. The average of all German Engineers working 40 hours per week earned monthly in 2011 EUR 4380, however the average of female engineers was 17 % lower. The indicative reasons given: Female engineers are working frequently in smaller or service oriented firms and some are located in lower salaried regions, and because of their younger age structure they are also less experienced than their male counterparts. 

An interesting breakdown of engineering income and growth rate of income in Switzerland is shown in table 5 and table 6

Gross average annual sector salaries of Swiss Engineers in 2009-10 

Sector / Year / CHF 1000 2009 minimum 2009 medium 2009 maximum 2010 minimum 2010 medium 2010 maximum
Construction 88 108 136 91 111 137
Chemical and Pharma 108 130 164 110 131 168
Electric Industry 101 119 151 104 121 151
Heating, Ventilation, Climate 97 116 135 102 117 137
IT 106 125 150 110 130 148
Finance 156 139 165 120 147 192
Services 94 117 145 94 124 147
Consumer Goods 110 132 159 111 134 160
Mechanical and Metal 96 115 138 98 115 138
Medical 110 125 158 110 128 156
Public  100 116 134 103 119 136
Telecommunication 108 132 155 106 136 157
Transportation and Traffic 96 116 134 100 119 134
Teaching 108 124 144 97 127 14
Others  93 116 115 96 117 145
All 98 120 145 100 120 147
Remarks: 2009/10 are age corrected and the figures reflect the medium 50 % of the respondees
Source: Salary Overview 2010-11, Swiss Engineering STV UTS ATS


Growth of Income for Engineers in Switzerland 2005 – 2008

Category % of growth
Working population

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