Engineers missing from construction industry

Engineers missing from construction industry

The number of applicants to the construction engineer department has continuously diminished for years, which can be explained by the fact that much young people do not know this profession. Graduated students are waited by good employment opportunities and competitive salaries in the Hungarian construction industry. Therefore, KÉSZ Group started a professional competition for civil engineer students and the young people who applied for Hexatlon are now stand before the final. The objective of the competition is to achieve that more and more people see a perspective in the Hungarian construction industry.

With its nearly 49 per cent growth achieved during five years, the Hungarian construction industry, which is considered to be one of the best ones of Europe, is still struggling with considerable labor shortage. The permanent skills shortage may cause serious problems on the long run, among others it may block the progress of various construction works and it turns the sector more and more to the direction of digitalization - turned out from the compilation of KÉSZ Group, one of Hungary's largest company groups.

There are fewer and fewer applicants
Moreover, labor shortage appear in several levels, there are few qualified tradesmen, and similarly engineers, and the succession is also intermittent. Therefore, KÉSZ Group started a competition specifically for civil engineer students in March. The purpose of Hexatlon is to popularize civil engineering training since skills shortage is the greatest in this field.

“The proportion of students applying for the civil engineering faculty is continuously decreasing on national level. In the full-time bachelor's degree training of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), more than 400 students started their studies 10 years ago and this number has been around 200 for years. Similarly, master's degree is chosen by less and less students. 5-6 years ago about 200 students studied in this faculty and now training is conducted with 70 students per class” - said Viktor Budaházy, the assistant professor of BME and a member of Hexatlon's jury.

According to BME's lecturer, the reason for decreasing popularity is that many people do not know exactly what do civil engineers actually do. While the other engineering professions - so in particular architectural engineering or mechanical engineering - are better known among secondary school students, they usually think of visibility vests and working pits in the case of civil engineers, albeit the tasks of a civil engineer are rather complex and very diversified jobs can be found in the profession.

They start with good chances on the labor market
Moreover, the graduated civil engineer students can find a job very easily: many of the BME (Budapest University of Technology and Economics) students work also during the university years, more than 30 per cent of the bachelor's degree students work and this proportion in master's degree comes to 80-90 per cent.

However, it may result in that many students finish their studies after completing the bachelor's degree and less and less students continue in master's degree programs. Wages are also competitive: in comparison to the gross average wage of 403,600 forints in 2020, the career-starters graduated from BME can count on gross wages in excess of 440 thousand forints that can achieve even 700 thousand forints gross within 1 or 2 years in certain civil engineering fields, so it is even more difficult to lure them back to the school desk. Albeit, in any case, the people with higher education have more “rights”, i.e. certain works may be performed only by specialists with a master's degree.

Popularizing a shortage profession
“We would like to show young people that there is a perspective in construction industry and a fine career can be achieved even in Hungary. At KÉSZ Group modern professional knowledge and even international experience can be acquired. In addition to financial rewards, we provide a career opportunity to the winner. The young people have already performed several professional tasks and we are looking curiously for what creative ideas they bring in the final” - said Tibor Metykó, the marketing and communications director of KÉSZ Group. Most of the students arrived at the Hexatlon competition from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and the second place was taken in a tie by the University of Debrecen and Széchenyi István University. The applying students had to solve exercises requiring professional knowledge and creativity, among others they had to find and correct the errors hidden in the design drawing. The competitors who reached the final round should demonstrate also to the professional jury and in the final to be held in late April six students may compete with each other. The main prize of Hexatlon is 2 million forints and an internship possibility in KÉSZ Group. The competitor in the second place receives 500 thousand forints and that in the third place 250 thousand forints.

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