Getting The Job

Soft skills needed in the engineering industry

Engineering is one of those professions where employers generally expect candidates to have very good technical knowledge and skill. So it may surprise jobseekers that employers rate “strong people management skills” as highly desirable in an engineering candidate.

Although engineers are often seen as technical people, the role an engineer fulfils within an organisation requires him or her to be able to lead and manage large teams of people. While the majority of employers stress the importance of sound technical skills, they also want candidates with a good track record in people management.

Currently, there is a very real shortage within project engineering roles, often as a result of candidates not having the relevant skills. There is also a greater demand for senior level engineering professionals in technical sales and operational roles.

For those considering a career in engineering, there is the opportunity to diversify into a broad variety of roles from project work through to sales and account management.

Junior project engineers will need a degree in mechanical or electrical engineering and will be expected to implement projects in compliance with engineering safety policies and procedures, as well as ensuring site safety by training and communicating with contractors.

Junior engineers with at least three years’ experience can expect salaries of between RM5,500 and RM6,200, while engineering managers can expect between RM10,000 and RM12,000.

Engineering managers, especially those choosing to work in the pharmaceutical, diagnostics, food and medical devices sectors, will need to have experience of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) standards.

Account management

Another popular branch for career engineers is in sales or account management. Account managers are very much in demand in the booming oil and gas industry. Sales engineers and account managers will need good technical knowledge of their products and their customers’ business. They are expected to service and maintain customer relationships, ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction while growing their business and achieving revenue targets.

An oil and gas account manager with between 12 and 15 years’ experience can expect an annual salary of between RM240,000 and RM300,000.

Quantity surveying is also considered a strand of engineering. Junior quantity surveyors can expect a salary of between RM4,500 and RM5,000 and are expected to work in tandem with project consultants.

Besides technical qualifications, they should also have good analytical skills and a basic understanding of finance and cost management, as they will often be the ones identifying the value of engineering components and managing the tender process within a project.

·Article by Ranstad Malaysia director Jasmin Kaur.