If taking a degree means making an investment, investing time, effort and money with the hope of opening up a good path for the future, the graduates who decide to undertake a course of studies in engineering seem to have made the center. The degree in engineering is in fact a guarantee even in times of crisis, with an employment rate, one year from graduation, of 84.9% . A percentage destined to grow five years after graduation, with as much as 93.4% of engineers employed, surpassed only by doctors, whose employment rate is close to 94%. But that’s not all: according to data from the latest AlmaLaurea report most engineers have a permanent contract (75.5% of cases) and a salary that rivals the other graduate colleagues, with just under € 1700 per month .
The young people who decided to focus on the “winning faculty” were almost 42,000 in the last academic year (40.5% of those registered in the entire scientific area), but the girls do not reach 10,000. Most of these are enrolled at the Politecnico di Milano, which is confirmed as the most “women-friendly” university. But if the numbers continue to attract so many graduates, envisioning a path full of roses and flowers, to ruin or, at least, complicate the plans of the aspiring engineers is the substantial difference in terms of employment guarantee – and remuneration – among the available study addresses.
Although 2016 has recorded the highest demand for engineering graduates in the last sixteen years (26,540 according to data collected by the National Council of Engineers’ study center ), in fact, the values are anything but homogeneous: to be particularly requested are mechanical and energy engineers (with a net average monthly salary of five years from the title of 1,790 euros), as well as those in the IT sector (1,703 euros), electronic (1,744 euros) and telecommunications (1,652 euros) , with an increase in demand by more than 20% compared to 2015.
On the other hand, the graduates of the civil and environmental fields suffer (whose average salaries stop at 1,490 euros) , which have seen the number of job opportunities reduced by 5.5% compared to 2015: «It is true that the largest part of the graduates in these areas carry out their work as freelancers “says the report of the National Council” but it is true that the negative data is the indicator of a general context in which the construction and public works sector, after years of deep crisis and substantial spending cuts, only limited signs of recovery are underway ».
And the biggest drop in the hiring of these two profiles is found in the South: almost a quarter less. A figure that reflects a more general disparity between North and South in the demand for workers with engineering skills, with about two-thirds of hiring located in the northern regions: just think that Lombardy and Piedmont alone cover 40% of the total recruitment in Italy, with more than 10 thousand job opportunities mostly for engineers in the electronic and information area, but also for management, industrial and mixed area engineers . Instead, the demand for computer and electronic profiles in Central Italy is growing, especially in Lazio where, of the 4 thousand total hires, more than half is reserved for these two profiles.
A net gap, therefore, that not only affects the business world but also that of the university. When choosing the university to which to write, in fact, the future freshmen are faced with a clear picture: according to the ranking of the Italian engineering faculties selected by the Censis-Republic guide for 2017 to occupy the first fourteen positions are universities of Center-North, headed by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia , followed by the Polytechnic of Turin and that of Milan. The first two universities in the South are in the 15th and 16th place, and are the universities of Catanzaro and Cagliari respectively .
“The ranking of teaching Censis is based on two indicators in relation to which the three-year degree courses in Cagliari engineering are sometimes more, sometimes less competitive,” he told Republic of Interns Corrado Zoppi, president of the Faculty of Engineering of ‘ Cagliari University: « as far as internationalization is concerned, in fact, Cagliari is second , having our university and, in particular its engineering courses, a consolidated and expanding tradition in this regard; but it is 31st for what concerns the progression of the student’s career , a problem rooted in the Cagliari engineering courses, where the average time of the three-year degree was, in 2015, just under six years, while that of engineering courses from different universities in the Center-North is less than about a year and a half”. For this reason “since last year the didactic coordination of the faculty has tried to address the issue, and this year’s training offer has reorganized the mathematics and physics courses of the first year trying to make the teaching load of freshmen ».
This is because “the slowness of career progression has very negative effects both on the number of students enrolled in the course and on the number of postgraduate graduates and, in cascade, means that the same master’s degree courses are affected by a lower number of students ” explains Zoppi ” because three-year graduates are much less than they could and should be. On this aspect the universities of the Center-North have started to work a lot before us and this has led to this rather disappointing ranking on the engineering courses of the Southern universities ». And the passage from one step to the other is in fact a serious problem if we consider that less than half of the three-year graduates (47.6%) intend to continue with the master’s degree
, according to AlmaLaurea data . Yet the specialist seems to give much more chances than a “simple” three-year term : “Our graduates have an expectation of working in a stable manner, at five years from the title, of around 80%. This expectation is decidedly lower for three-year graduates, »confirms Zoppi.
To make their curriculum more appealing in the eyes of companies is then, in addition to the magisterial title, a previous work experience(specific to the job or at least in the same field), required in more than two thirds of recruitments and considered decidedly more relevant than an additional educational qualification as a doctorate or master, required in less than 20% of cases. A front on which engineering students seem to have to improve, stopping at just over 56% the percentage of graduates who have had work experience during their studies. Graduates who are not caught unprepared on the other two skills most required by the business world, information technology and language. According to AlmaLaurea data, in fact, most of the new engineers have a good knowledge of the network and programs of the Office package, as well as a knowledge of “at least good” English (80 graduates out of 100), now considered a must in many types of work, even if the numbers drop considerably if we look at the knowledge of other languages, German in the first place .