Dear Mr. Olver

Dick Olver, who was speaking to The Daily Telegraph at an event designed to boost children\’s interest science and engineering, said: \”We need more of the very good engineering graduates to go into engineering rather than the financial services.\” .

There\’s a simple answer to this.

A quick skip through the BAE Systems jobs page shows that you\’re offering £27k to someone to sell jets, 22k for a Quality Assurance Engineer and £26k for a Senior Commissioning Engineer….those latter two both on nuclear subs.

It\’s not just the City you\’re competing against with those wages. You\’re barely offering more than average wages.

You want more engineers my suggestion is that you offer more money to engineers.

10 thoughts on “Dear Mr. Olver”

  1. I couldn’t agree more, engineers are grievously undervalued in Britain.

    That being said, and trying to find a silver lining in every cloud, there might be one advantage here:

    Engineers are professionals and we all know how the scumbags of Westminster try to justify their need for salaries commensurate with those of the professionals they clearly are not. Fine, pay the bastards 22k.

  2. Forty years ago I passed a 2.2 in mechanical engineering. I was a ‘proper’ engineer for two years and I left to work in other fields of mucky commerce. Why? Because engineering is a pretty hard degree (or I’m thick) and the expertise you acquire – maths, statistics, logic, planning, project management, etc – is more highly valued elsewhere.

    If I was doing it again, I’d go for something easy like politics and get a cushy job with great expenses in Parliament or some other part of the public sector.

    It’s not that engineers are poorly paid but the public sector, which decides its own pay from a bottomless pit of taxes, is too highly paid.

  3. The Pedant-General

    “Forty years ago I passed a 2.2 in mechanical engineering. ”

    My goodness – that must have hurt.

  4. Heh! I have some great anecdotes about this. A seriously smart guy I was at Manchester with had an interview at BAe where they offered him £19k starting salary (in 2000) with no perks whatsoever. He took a job with McKinsey which paid him £28k plus bonus plus laptop, training, and a whole load of other perks.

    At about the same time I attended a meeting of a useless organisation called the IMechE, the professional body for mechanical engineers in the UK. The average age of membership is about 80. Some woman MP was there, also a member, and was harping on about how there are not enough young engineers and how it was a challenge to find more. I helpfully suggested that we (me being a young engineer) get paid more, which prompted much huffing and puffing that it wasn’t about money, I should just be happy being a professional engineer with all the respect that comes with it!

  5. Haha, this is exactly right. The government are always crying about how there aren’t enough scientists and engineers but in fact there are far too many, which is reflected in the wages offered for what is quite a difficult and necessary job. Government thinks that by conning or forcing more people into science and engineering courses Britain will be able to magically ride the crest of a new technology wave to everlasting prosperity, which is of course nonsense. All that will happen is there will be more disgruntled science and engineering graduates willing to sell their services for even less money. Anyone with an ounce of common sense therefore leaves the backwaters of science and engineering as quickly as possible in order to get a well paid job in accounting or finance.

  6. Oh, they’re at it again are they? Last time I heard this “BAE pays shit then complains that it can’t get any engineers” story was around 1995 if memory serves. Mr Evans, or whatever the name of the idiot was was BAE chairman, grandly declared that he would have to start recruiting German and American engineers since not enough Brits were applying. The same week, there was a BAE job for a fuel systems engineer with 3 years of experience, for which they were willing to offer just under the average graduate salary at the time (16.5K).

    And yes, I (finally!) got a mechanical engineering degree…but work in IT (of course!)

  7. as a matter of interest, Dutch and German people I know talk about how they respect engineers (addressing them as Doktor etc), but does anyone know how engineering salaries compare across the different countries? al;ready noted that lots of Uk engineers used toi buggger off to the Arab states and Sakhalin.

  8. Engineers tend to attract high starting salaries here in Australia, upwards of $50k. There is a shortage of engineers, especially those willing to work in the regional areas in industries such as mining. Within 5 years one should be on over $100k and by mid to late 30s one’s package should be over $200k. The shortage means engineers tend to get responsibility younger, but it also means that even mediocre engineers can get well paying jobs.

  9. I graduated (Physics) in 1975, but have worked as an engineer ever since. I must say I have been very happy with my choice of career, and could never really imagine myself doing anything else.

    But the big players like BAE always tended to have mediocre salary grades. I suspect they are accustomed to getting the lions share of the new graduates each year, and they tend to make quite a lot of dosh out of them. The best strategy is to get into a highly specialised department or a niche company. The last thing you want your boss to see is a vast open plan office full of other engineers just like you.

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