The Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IES)

The Professional Engineer - Promoting professional engineering

Rotterdam harbour

Career Flexibility

There is much greater career flexibility in engineering than in many other professions.

The profession in all its forms is varied and university study courses present many option choices as the student progresses to graduation. The risk, therefore, of facing a "cul de sac" qualification is much lower than with many other subjects such as pharmacy, accountancy, dentistry or opthalmics for example. This allows the student time to determine what aspect of their discipline suits them best before specialisation. It is possible to take a joint Electrical and Mechanical degree at some universities.

Flexible choices also extend as to where and how a student pursues their post graduate employment. Some will suit better than others.

Main career choices include:

Design Office Based

Work can come to you. World wide clients/experience but with you predominately home based. Continuity of employer opportunity is strong, whilst you can secure varied, challenging and interesting work.

factory interior

Production Facility Based

Can be an extended home based, fixed location career but with opportunities to move within employers empire (perhaps overseas facilities), retaining continuity of employment.

Construction, Commissioning, Troubleshooting

You go to the work, wherever in the world it is, but you can still retain continuity of employer.

Self Employed

In some industry sectors e.g. design for oil and gas facilities, it is relatively commonplace for chartered engineers to be self employed and to follow the major projects around the globe. You will have to look after your own pension and tax affairs but it is lucrative if you are good enough.

These flexible choices compare very well with other professions that offer less variety, narrower experience, and fewer travel opportunities unless changing employer and, importantly, location.. eg, Medicine, Social Services, Pharmacy, Teaching etc.

Free Market

Professional engineering is generally a free market. You are portable. Go where you want, negotiate your own salary and conditions etc. This can have significant advantages as compared with other professions and public sector employment etc.