by Simon Lythgoe
If you’ve made the decision that engineering is the career choice for you then congratulations. As a career path it has a lot to offer, from exciting employers through to opportunities to travel and learn. However, within the engineering sector there are still many different choices to make when it comes to finding the type of engineering consultancy that will most benefit you.
The boutique firm option
Boutique engineering firms may employ a workforce of anywhere between 10 and 50 people. Although they may handle smaller projects – or may not be working on the highest profile jobs – there tends to be a lot more opportunity for hands-on experience and more responsibility at an earlier stage.
Boutique firms usually have plenty of opportunities to get involved in everything, from field work to office work and design. Salary may be slightly lower than a bigger firm and benefits packages less extensive. How you’ll progress in terms of being promoted will be unique to each business so could be an important question to ask.
A bigger, high profile firm
Large, very visible engineering consultancies have a lot to offer, from more impressive pay and benefits through to opportunities to travel with work. There may be more availability of training and professional development than at a smaller firm and if you’re looking for larger – often international – projects then a big, high profile firm may be the more obvious choice.
Promotion is frequently more clear cut at a bigger consultancy with progress up the career ladder based on experience and achievement, as opposed to waiting for opportunities to arise when someone else leaves. The downside of this type of environment may be that it’s difficult to get noticed among a large pool of talent and you may find yourself pigeonholed into a specific role rather than getting experience across the board.
Key factors to consider
The two ends of the size spectrum are not the only choice when it comes to finding the engineering consultancy that is most likely to benefit you. There are also middle-sized firms that mix components from both of the above. What will be crucial is working out what it is you want from the experience and which factors matter the most. This could include:
How important it is to advance quickly in terms of training, qualifications and promotion
Where you are likely to find the salary and benefits package that works best for you
The type of projects you want to work on – consider size, complexity and whether they are high profile or not
Travel opportunities – how important is it to you to be able to travel while you work?
Working style. Will the structure of a larger or smaller consultancy be best suited to the way that you want to work, both in terms of the roles and responsibilities that you’re given and the level of autonomy or teamwork required.
Finding the right option in terms of the engineering consultancy that works best for you is a case of narrowing down the choices based on your goals and preferences.
Take a look at Volt EU’s candidate services today for more information and to find the right options for your career.