Engineers in demand

Most graduates in engineering from technical faculties at Greek universities become directors or other senior executives, particularly in the field of computer science, justifying their parents’ considerable financial outlay and their own long hours of study. Engineers are also in demand, though their courses could improve, according to company representatives. A survey by DATA Research and Consulting among 150 Greek businesses showed that 68.80 percent of engineers held key positions. Just over 18 percent are employed in telecommunications and another 5.28 percent in IT. Stronger job competition leads candidates into postgraduate degrees, while employers are also asking for more qualifications. Graduates of electrical engineering, the course in the highest demand (last year 3,698 candidates competed for 279 places at the National Technical University’s electrical engineering and computer science faculty), find that nearly three-quarters of employers say postgraduate degrees are desirable, while over 7 percent demand it. The reasons are ongoing developments in technology, the company’s focus on a specific specialization, or simply its desire for an advantage. Over two-thirds of businesses surveyed said they preferred candidates with a PhD. Generally, Greek universities’ technical faculties are considered to be of a high standard. Nearly half of all electrical engineers were considered to be fully qualified for their jobs on recruitment, while 58 percent of employers said their standard was satisfactory. Any problems are usually due to a lack of practical experience (41.47 percent), while 29 percent of employers attributed these weaknesses to an inability to deal with contemporary problems. Nearly a third see the solution to this problem as the overhaul of university courses, seminars and in-house training. Few thought postgraduate training was a solution to weaknesses in the qualifications of electrical engineers. Most companies pointed to the broader problems in university courses, calling for more emphasis on practical experience, including laboratory work, a broader range of knowledge and new areas of expertise in the particular field. Graduates of technical colleges (TEI) are also in demand; in fact, a quarter of companies surveyed said they preferred them because their wages were lower and because they usually had more practical experience. Nearly a fifth said technical college graduates were more suited to the job and nearly a third cited a combination of factors such as the nature of the job, which was technical rather than administrative. Railway disruptions