Job market outlook
Technology development is relentless, and is expected to continue on this trajectory as we enter the deepest phase of the digital revolution yet. There will be exponential growth of R&D opportunities, especially in the technology space.
While life sciences are still a booming micro-economy, Big Pharma is struggling to maintain its current growth levels. The squeeze of governments trying to contain costs and pushing for generic-branded medicines to be adopted is hitting the margins, but there’s still plenty of life in the ol’ girl yet.
Manufacturing is increasingly moving offshore — by the end of 2017 there will be no more car manufacturers left in Australia — which is causing havoc upstream and downstream, for both consumers and the businesses that supply parts and accessories. This may not be the best time to consider a domestic manufacturing career, we’ve got to be honest — unless you’re thinking of a highly specialised manufacturer, such as Cochlear or with some of the bigger defence manufacturers.
Engineering is still a highly sought after profession from both directions, with employers looking for talented engineers while students clamour to fill university spots. The work will chiefly be found in civil infrastructure, manufacturing, mining and defence. However, the future of engineering is set to turn its attention to robotics, biotechnology and bioscience.
How to get hired
Recruiters are looking for teamwork-oriented graduates who can provide technical proficiency along with problem-solving, organisation, communication and project management skills to the company.
Construction projects can involve a high level of risk and engineering companies are also under increasing pressure to reduce their impact on the environment, so graduates who can demonstrate knowledge of risk management and sustainability will be able to show employers that they understand the key challenges the industry faces.
Employers rate the following skills as the most important when hiring a graduate, according to the Australian Association of Graduate Employers:
- Cultural fit
- Interpersonal skills
- Oral communication skills
- Problem-solving skills.
Key skills you need
Attention to detail
In this industry, the finer details can save lives or make the difference between a product’s success or failure — so attention to these finer details is crucial.
Being passionate is one thing, but having the drive to see a passion project through from beginning to end — sometimes against the odds — is how a lot of the best products come to fruition. Engineering a new product or method of testing can set you apart from your peers and show what you’ve got in your bag of tricks.
It’s important to be able to manage a project from start to finish so you can see where bottlenecks might occur. Most products and projects in development will be made up of many parts, requiring scheduling and foresight.
Alternatives to engineering, R&D, manufacturing and science
If you’re considering engineering, R&D, manufacturing and science, you might also like to consider…