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LII Professional Studies: Labour Market Information. Dr J Copelton Senior Careers Adviser. You and career planning. Career options. You. Career paths. Advice & mentoring. The career development cycle. 1.Self-Assessment Values/interests Skills/Experience. 2. Opportunity Awareness WDGD?

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LII Professional Studies: Labour Market Information

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LII Professional Studies:Labour Market Information

Dr J Copelton

Senior Careers Adviser

You and career planning

Career options


Career paths

Advice & mentoring

The career development cycle

  • 1.Self-Assessment

    • Values/interests

    • Skills/Experience

  • 2. Opportunity Awareness

    • WDGD?

    • LMI

  • 3. Gaining Experience

    • On-campus jobs

    • Work experience

  • 5. Action Planning

    • Finding vacancies

    • Further study

  • 4.Exploring Options

    • Career workshops

    • Insight courses

What do engineers do?

Where do civil engineers work?

What do IT professionals do?

Alternatives to engineering

  • Accountancy

  • Banking

  • Consultancy

  • Financial mathematics

  • Insurance

  • Technical writing

  • Teaching

The graduate labour market by region

Students at Queen’s have access to three

labour markets. In order of size these are:

  • Great Britain

  • Republic of Ireland

  • Northern Ireland

a:In UK employment (66.5%)

b:In overseas employment 2.0%

c:Working and studying 6.9%

d:Studying in the UK for a higher degree 8.3%

e:Studying in the UK for a teaching qualification 0.7%

f:Undertaking other further study or training in the UK 1.2%

g:Undertaking further study or training overseas 0.2%

h:Not available for employment, study or training 4.2%

i:Believed to be unemployed 7.3%


Destinations of GB Mechanical Engineers 2005

QUB Mechanical Engineers 2005

Poor degree.

Lack of relevant experience.

Not focussed on employment while at university.

Why are engineers in non-graduate jobs?

Queen’s graduate destination statistics show a clear divide in the destinations of BEng and MEng graduates.

MEng graduates are much more likely to be working with major employers in GB while BEng graduates are mostly working in NI.

Why is this?

The MEng/BEng Effect

Reasons for the MEng/BEng divide

  • BEng graduates are more romantic.

  • MEng graduates are more ambitious.

  • GB employers prefer the MEng degree.

  • GB employers are more likely to offer training leading to CEng status for which MEng is the preferred route.

The importance of being chartered

Chartered engineer status means you

have satisfied your professional

institutions requirements regarding –

  • engineering competency

  • depth of experience

  • financial management

  • Most senior jobs require CEng status.

  • CEng is recognised internationally, so multi-national companies encourage their staff to qualify.

  • CEng in Northern Ireland

    • The importance of chartered status depends on the strength of the professional institution.

    • The most powerful institution in NI is the Institution of Civil Engineers.

    • Practically all senior civil engineers in NI are chartered and most senior jobs require it.

    • In NI only FG Wilson is recognised by the IMechE.

    Good degree

    Reputable university

    Work experience

    Transferable skills


    Business awareness


    What do top employers want?

    Effect of labour market on graduate recruitment – GB

    • There are ~500 major graduate recruiters in GB who belong to the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

    • They share information on:

      • best practice in graduate recruitment

      • graduate starting salaries

    • This means that selection processes are very similar and starting salaries are competitive within each sector

    Effect of labour market on graduate recruitment – GB

    • Competition for the best graduates ensures that :

      • The major companies recruit on an annual cycle.

      • Early application in final year is expected.

      • Some companies recruit through Christmas Courses.

      • Many vacancies are filled through work placement schemes.

      • Vacancies are filled by April/May.

    Where can you find information on graduate employers in GB?

    • Company web sites.

    • Graduate employer directories.


    • “Employer of the Week” – Ashby (Oct - Dec).

    • Engineering Careers Symposium (14th March).

    • On-campus presentations in final year.

    Graduate labour market in RoI

    • Mostly SMEs, with a number of large ”inward investment” employers.

    • Major inward investment by chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

    • IT and Telecommunications employers are facing a shortage of Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists.

    • Infrastructure development producing strong demand in the construction sector.

    • Some large RoI based employers recruit at Queen’s

      (Eli Lilley, ESB Intl., Intel, Kerry Group, Mercke, Microsoft, Siemens, Smurfit Kappa).

    Graduate labour market in NI

    • Northern Ireland has the biggest SME base of any region in the UK – accounting for nearly 80% of private sector employment and 75% of turnover.

    • Recruitment by SMEs is infrequent and can take place at any time of the year.

    • Manufacturing in NI now accounts for just 13% of total employment.

    • Local manufacturing sold £13.9 billion in 2005/6, mostly to GB (43.5%) but also to RoI (£1.3bn), N America and Asia.

    • Low R & D spending <1% 0f GDP.

    • Strongest demand is in the construction sector.

    Graduate numbers in NI

    • The number of graduates of working age has almost doubled from 83,000 in 1995 to 155,000 in 2005.

    • The total working age population only increased by 8% during this time.

    • As a result, the proportion of the working age population who are graduates has increased from 9% in 1995 to 15% in 2005.

    • Among 20-29 year olds almost one-fifth of the population are graduates.

      (Source: LM Bulletin 19, DEL)

    The Law of Supply and Demand

    In a market economy, the forces of supply and demand push the price of a commodity toward the level at which quantity supplied and quantity demanded are equal.

    Effect of labour market on graduate recruitment – NI

    • Queen’s graduates are very reluctant to move out of Northern Ireland, creating a highly competitive local labour market.

    • ~20% of graduates are working in jobs which do not require a degree.

    • As a consequence salaries in NI are significantly lower than in Great Britain.

    • Local salaries vary from £11K (Accountancy) to £21+K (Civil Engineering).

    The earnings differentials between graduates and those with GCE A-level or equivalent alone were largest in Northern Ireland (39.5%) and Scotland (35.7%).

    This shows that although graduates working in Northern Ireland had the lowest mean weekly earnings across all regions, the financial benefits of a university education were relatively large compared with other regions.

    Earnings differentials

    Where can you find information on NI employers?

    • Queen’s Careers Service – NI Employer Database

    • Company web sites




    • Belfast Public Library

    • Job Markets

    • Companies Registry

    The career development cycle

    • 1.Self-Assessment

      • Values/interests

      • Skills/Experience

    • 2. Opportunity Awareness

      • WDGD?

      • LMI

    • 3. Gaining Experience

      • On-campus jobs

      • Work experience

    • 5. Action Planning

      • Finding vacancies

      • Further study

    • 4.Exploring Options

      • Career workshops

      • Insight courses

    Employability development at Queen’s

    Wednesday 21 February

    11.00 – 3.30

    Whitla Hall

    Belfast City Council



    Insight into management


    Lagan Technologies

    Mouchel Parkman


    Schrader Electronics


    Shell Livewire

    For more information visit

    > Work Experience Centre

    Work Experience Fair

    The career development cycle

    • 1.Self-Assessment

      • Values/interests

      • Skills/Experience

    • 2. Opportunity Awareness

      • WDGD?

      • LMI

    • 3. Gaining Experience

      • On-campus jobs

      • Work experience

    • 5. Action Planning

      • Finding vacancies

      • Further study

    • 4.Exploring Options

      • Career workshops

      • Insight courses

    Funding Postgraduate Study at Queen’s

    • Funding 2006/7

      • 116 DEL Research Awards (Fees + £12300)

      • 21 ESF Research Studentships (Engineering and Sciences)

      • 18 Taught Masters (Humanities and Social Sciences)

  • Source: QUB Postgraduate Awards Office


  • Training opportunities in NI

    • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

    • Explorers

    • Premiere II

    • Financial Futures

    Employability development at Queen’s

    12.00 – 1.30

    2.00 – 4.00

    Careers Exhibition, Ashby Foyer

    Symposium on Graduate Selection,

    Lecture Theatre 1.22

    Companies expected to attend:

    BBC, BT, Cummins, F G Wilson, KTP, SAP, Schlumberger, Stryker, Terex Finley, Unilever.

    Engineering Careers Symposium14th March 2007

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