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Kelly Services reveals the rise of 'Generation Unsustainable' in Engineering

17 March 2011

22% of U.K. engineers are in unsustainable, unconventional jobs, says Kelly Global Workforce Index

20% of UK engineers are in unsustainable, unconventional jobs as the effects of the recession continue to impact the UK labour market according to the latest survey from workforce solutions leader, Kelly Services®.

The latest findings from the Kelly Global Workforce Index indicate the emergence of Generation U, a new breed of workers who face an unsustainable combination of long and/or unusual hours, multiple jobs, living away from home and excessive travel as a normal part of their lives. This is concerning for the engineering community as it will create a long term talent issue for the sector in the UK job market.

Generation U are the result of the widespread 'more for less' business mantra formed out of the recession as business across the UK aim to drive efficiency upwards while lowering their costs.

Kelly Services UK Country General Manager, Andrew Cook says: "Across many industries, there are a host of people who are now prepared to work in an unconventional way, moving within their own country, or moving abroad in the pursuit of work, but some of this is unsustainable. "Working in an unconventional way can play a key role in career advancement but you don't have to fit the Generation U profile to profit from the diverse global demand for talent. We can help candidates who are willing to travel and be flexible to attain the personal rewards and career opportunities they want in a sustainable way"

The Kelly Global Workforce Index obtained the views of approximately 97,000 people in 30 countries, including more than 2,200 in the U.K.

Results of the survey in the U.K. show:

- 49 per cent of Gen Y are prepared to travel abroad for the right job, compared with 41 percent of Gen X and 30 per cent of baby boomers. Men are also more willing to move than women.
· Among various industry sectors, those working in oil & gas are the most prepared to shift countries for work (62 per cent), followed by engineering (55 per cent) and hospitality (53 per cent).
· The overwhelming factor preventing people from moving abroad for a job is "family and friends," cited by 54 per cent, followed by the cost of moving (23 per cent), language barriers (13 per cent), and cultural differences (3 per cent).
· The desire to move to a different continent is driven by "the experience" rather than setting up permanent residence, with 48 per cent prepared to stay for three years or less.
· More than one-quarter (28 per cent) are working in what they consider unconventional arrangements. Of these, the most common grievance is "long hours," affecting 27 per cent, followed by unusual hours (25 per cent), living away from home (16 per cent), multiple jobs (15 per cent), and excessive travel (12 per cent).
· 43 per cent of those working in unconventional arrangements believe they can only continue doing so for up to one year. However, more than a quarter (29 per cent) say they can sustain it "indefinitely."

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