New energy sources: a priority challenge for engineers.
- More than one in two students (54%) prefer an engineering school to train for this profession and 32% plan to follow a university course;
- Nearly one in three young engineers (32%) has chosen this path with the ambition of actively contributing to the improvement of society and the environment;
- Three priority challenges to be addressed according to engineers: new energy sources (40%), environmental protection (39%), followed by data and cybersecurity research (32%);
- Nearly seven out of ten students (65%) plan to pursue, or are already pursuing, a dual technical or generalist education. 96% of working engineers also consider the acquisition of new skills important;
- 41% of engineers say they have found a job before the end of their training, thanks in particular to internships and work-study programs.
For the fourth year in a row, the Ausy Group and Infopro have surveyed engineering students, recent graduates and current engineers on their vision of the profession, their expectations and their aspirations.
The study confirms that our younger generations are becoming more practical every year. Their excellent employability is no longer enough: engineers are becoming aware of the importance to continue to train throughout their career in order to remain at the cutting edge and to aim for a wider transversality in their profession. This criteria is essential in view of their primary motivation: to move the lines and impact the society in which we evolve. In this sense, the digital companies are excellent springboards for boosting their careers and developing multidisciplinary expertise related to the environment, the automobile industry, aeronautics, etc. The findings of the study should also enable companies to orientate their support programs for engineers, in line with their expectations, to support their development and retain them.
The engineering profession remains appealing to young people but is not exempt from the underlying trends.
Students and young graduates seem to be more pragmatic than their elders. Thus, they give a lot of importance to the advantages linked to this job: salary, international career prospects, job content…
Nevertheless, the study points to the quest for meaning in this new generation. While a taste for science remains an essential criterion for 67% of working engineers (followed closely by the multidisciplinary nature of the job and the fact that the job is at the heart of innovation), the possibility of actively contributing to the improvement of society and the environment is a strong motivating factor (32%). This figure reflects young people's appetite for industry, a sector where they feel they can have the greatest impact on our society. Engineers also want companies to offer them value-added projects and a healthy work environment, which resonates with their desire to work on meaningful missions.
The world we live in and current events necessarily impact the aspirations and perspectives of engineers, whether they are students or in employment, because they have both the will and the ability to make things happen. Thus, today there is a strong appetite among our candidates for the sectors of activity concerning the environment and renewable energies.
Industry, the most direct way to impact the changes for the young generation.
Among the most popular career paths, a large proportion of the students surveyed (42%) plan to work in industry, a sector that seems to offer the most opportunities in their opinion. Aeronautics, automotive, chemical and water/environment/energy are among the top 4 sectors favored by future engineers. They are indeed perceived as key sectors in the improvement of the society in which we live. This is a sign that young engineers feel invested in societal and environmental issues, and are ready to play a real role in the coming years.
However, one third of current engineers believe that Digital companies offer more career opportunities than the energy or aeronautics sectors. On the other hand, only 9% of students and recent graduates plan to go into software and services companies. Like the previous edition of the study, this reveals a discrepancy between the perception of the professions by young people and the reality of the field as experienced by current engineers.
In response to a constantly evolving profession, dual training is becoming more common.
An increasing number of engineers, both recent graduates (65%) and working engineers (41%), are considering or have already completed dual training. This could be vertical training, in a technical field for example, or transversal training with the acquisition of skills that are further from the engineer's core business, such as management, marketing, etc.
This strong emergence of a need for training related to complementary skills could be one of the explanations for the shortage of "pure" engineers on the job market, especially among young people: 37% of those under 35 years old declare that they occupy a more cross-functional position (including 36% of women).
The vast majority of current engineers are aware of the importance of developing new skills, but only half of them (54%) say they are satisfied with their company's support on this topic. Most of them want to improve their skills in areas such as data, AI and cybersecurity, which are highly strategic from a societal and political perspective, especially since the launch of new tools such as ChatGPT. Students and young graduates prefer training in environmental and societal issues (ecological transition 34%; diversity and inclusion 22%; green IT and responsible digital technology 21%), other major concerns in which their role will obviously be crucial.
71% of students and young graduates and 76% of working engineers also emphasize the importance of being able to move quickly into positions with more responsibilities. For almost a quarter of students and engineers under 35, this plays a major role in their professional orientation. Those under 35 also want to train in order to acquire new skills and to be able to obtain more responsibilities faster (45% of respondents). Despite the potential for rapid change, 51% of the working engineers are considering changing jobs in the short or long term: again, this is probably due to the discrepancy between the perception of the job and the reality of the missions (31% of them feel that their job does not correspond to their initial perception and that there is a gap between expectations and the tasks performed, working conditions, training, the mission, etc.)
As proof that the impact of the job now counts as much as the way it is performed for the new generation, more than half (52%) of students and young graduates plan to turn to VSEs, SMEs or ISEs to start their careers. And 61% of them say that their engineering education will eventually enable them to launch their own start-up.
“We have clearly observed this trend for the past few years: the younger generations are looking for agility in structures that will integrate them, train them, listen to them and give them responsibilities quickly. They feel they have more latitude in start-ups than in large companies. This can also be explained by their appetite for entrepreneurship and their desire for efficiency. Entrepreneurship is one of the three values, together with trust and team spirit, that we promote internally, which our employees appreciate on a daily basis.”
Exploring a different approach in order to respond to the talent shortage.
Over the years, we have observed a real evolution in the way we recruit and in the expectations of candidates. In a job market under pressure, the balance of power has changed. Facing the scarcity of profiles, companies must reinvent themselves and focus on a direct approach to candidates: employer website, school relations, hunting via social networks, job boards...
20% of students and young graduates rely on work-study programs and internships to find their first job. This works, since more than one out of two engineers under 35 years old declares that they have found a job through this method, even before the end of their training.
Finally, we can see that 11% of working engineers and 12% of students and recent graduates have accessed engineering training via continuing education or VAE. This is a weak signal suggesting that this type of dual training may be one of the answers to the current talent shortage.
Training is becoming a real differentiator factor for all companies wishing to retain their employees. Whether it is soft skills or hard skills oriented, it can help meet the challenges of recruiting very specific and highly qualified profiles.
- The "Engineering Employer Brand" study was conducted by Infopro Digital and Ausy among a representative sample of 678 engineers. Among them 106 were students at the beginning or middle of their studies, 53 students at the end of their studies, 47 recent graduates who were not yet working, and 472 engineers who were working;
- The questionnaire was self-administered online;
- The fieldwork was conducted from February 6, 2023 to March 5, 2023.
Download the official press release.downolad
- Ausy - Communications management
Agathe Leblond: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wellcom Agency
Phone: +33 1 46 34 60 60