View Full Version : Why am I always the youngest mechanical designer at work?

12th Aug '09, 21:04
I'm 35. Have been doing mechanical design for 13 years and since I took my 1st graduate job I've been the youngest mechanical design engineer in the office EVERYWHERE I've worked.

I discussed this with a fellow electrical designer who is the same age as me. He is in the same boat.

We agreed that the reason for this phenomenon is that kids just want to study media degrees or become celebrities.

Anyone else noticed this? Some kids must do mechanical design degrees. Where do they work? Or are the all on the dole given the current crapness of manufacturing in the UK?

4th Sep '09, 07:48
The situation is rare in Asia,guy in this age most turn to management-related function;by the way, this occurs mainly in the foreign-invested enterprise. :?

5th Sep '09, 22:08
Mmm intersting. I have noticed this too. I am the youngest mech designer usually everywhere I work.

7th Oct '09, 11:36
I'm a 52 year old mechanical designer, currently working on contract in Edinburgh. I've been here just about a year now. I was hired because the company was not able to find anyone close to my experience from anywhere within the UK! Or, at least willing to relocate here from other parts of the UK. I was working near Liverpool prior to coming to this job.
I'm actually an American (married to a British national) and I felt, because of my age and being from a foreign country, I would find it harder to find work in the UK, especially since we're going through a rough time economically. It seems to me that there are not enough young people getting into mechanical design and/or engineering. Better for me, since I need to keep working and don't like the idea of not being able to find work just because of my age. :D

11th Dec '09, 11:25

I'm not sure there are a lack of people coming into the industry, the main problem is getting through the door in the first job. Admittedly, a large proportion of the students in mechanical engineering will not end up doing mechanical engineering but those of us who really want to do it can't seem to get a job.
I'm a 25 year old mechanical engineer, I finished my BEng Mechanical Engineering back in 2007, went to do a MSc in Motorsport Engineering for a year and when I finished that I couldn't get a job. I'm now back in university doing a PhD.
I wondered if this was all down to lack of experience but you have to get on the ladder somehow, and it's not as though i'm totally bereft of design experience, I hellped to start the formula student team at the University of Glasgow in my undergraduate and have now done 5 years of work on that, and my MSc dissertation was done with a company redesigning a vehicle suspension for a lotus 7 style sports car.
I think the main problem is our industry has completely stagnated and with the redundancies of experienced design engineers it becomes even more difficult for the less experienced of us.

haha sorry for the complete rant, that's just my 2 cents


11th Dec '09, 16:12
I'm 26 and am a Design Engineer - and place myself firmly in-between Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering in terms of capabilities and knowledge.

From talking to recruiters and company people at interviews I've found that - as Ed mentions, the job market has virtually come to a standstill, in terms of companies not really wanting to expand and take the risk of spending money on wages and training in case they struggle.

That said, there are companies recruiting and a heck of a lot of talent in the job pool including fresh grads and people made redundant.

Fresh grads are now competing against experienced people who have... without sounding too harsh... been around a bit!

Another factor is that the academic skills that you have when leaving Uni are great, and a good foundation, but applying them to projects at uni - all be it on a large project like the formula student, and applying them in the real world can be shockingly different.

If you're in the UK, a very good way to clock up actual company work experience is to take a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) scheme after you graduate. I am currently on a KEEP (Knowledge Partners East of England) scheme which is essentially the same. I'm employed by a university but effectively work for a company in industry. The work Iím doing is fantastic experience and I have total responsibility for the design and development of an entire product, and manage the time planning, component and manufacturing sourcing plus pulling together the companies market knowledge and the universities Technical knowhow, (the partnership bit) so all parties benefit. These schemes can last from 6 months to 2 years, and Iíd highly recommend having a look.

However, I have had more than one recruiter ask me "So how long have you spent in a proper job?".... (grrrr)

Another option might be to offer yourself for temporary or placement work. This idea appalled me when I left uni, but in hind sight you get to work for a real company doing really work and have the opportunity to get a foot in the door.

Thereís an overused saying Ė Itís not WHAT you know, itís WHO you know!
I really should limit myself to a work limit.... anyway, thereís my two cents... (and a little bit more)

17th Feb '10, 17:58
I have had a similar experience throughout most of my working life, and am 46. The average age of an engineer in the UK is 55. There are too few people entering engineering, and of those that do, too few are studying what I would call a "proper" degree. When I am recruiting I have learnt from experience that those with peripheral degrees (e.g. "cybernetics with transportation") just can't hack it.