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Engineering contractors confident about job prospects in 2012

Engineering contractors are more confident about their job prospects in 2012 and many are expecting a pay rise this year.

Giant group’s research found that 61 per cent of engineering contractors expected their pay to rise in 2012, compared to just 51 per cent who forecasted a pay increase at the end of 2010.

According to the contractor services provider, engineers growing confidence in the job market was also reflected in their growing preference for higher hourly pay over a longer term contract. When asked which they would prefer, 59 per cent would choose a longer term contract, down from 67 per cent of engineers polled last year. Giant said as contractors became less concerned about job security, they tended to opt for contracts that paid a higher hourly rate.

The survey of 165 respondents also showed that 75 per cent of engineering contractors secured their most recent contract in one month or less.

Giant group managing director Matthew Brown said market confidence had “clearly strengthened over the past year, despite the faltering recovery and the eurozone crisis”.

“Demand for engineering skills is holding up well and is one of the bright spots in an otherwise weak jobs market,” Brown said.

Skills shortages remained a perennial concern, he said. “An ageing workforce, and a lack of specialist university courses, is exacerbating skills shortages in some engineering disciplines. Given the supply-side constraints, if hirers face more intense competition for skills next year, it could drive up pay.

“Some engineering sectors are already experiencing quite serious skills deficits. The growth of the nuclear industry, coupled with the development of renewable energy sources and clean fossil fuels, is stimulating demand for process and chemical engineers for example,” Brown said.

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