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Quarter of engineers say they'd quit job to flee boss

13 August 2019

Almost a quarter of engineers working in the UK say they’d consider leaving their current job due to poor management, according to global recruiter Randstad.

In a poll of almost 9,000 workers across the UK, 23% of design engineers, project engineers and other professionals involved in various engineering disciplines say they would leave their job because their organisation showed such poor leadership.

While the percentage of engineers was the same as the percentage of accountants and finance professionals, by contrast, only 21% of quantity surveyors, site managers, labourers, and project managers working in construction said poor management would drive them to quit – suggesting that leaders in construction are better than those in engineering.

Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad Construction, Property & Engineering said: “Having the right manager can make your working life easier and a lot more enjoyable.  My advice to people is, when you’re going for a job interview, don’t be afraid to ask your new boss directly about their preferred management style.  How does it fit with your preferred style?  And, if you have more than one interviewer, watch how the hiring manager interacts with their colleagues. 

“Paying attention to your potential new manager during the interview will help you gain a better understanding what kind of leader they are, you wouldn’t want to leave it too late and end up with a bad boss.  Lastly, try to figure out whether your new boss will be the mentor and leader you’re looking for to help drive your career forwards.  Listen to the questions they ask you and try to understand what their priorities are.  If they ask about your goals and how you plan to reach them, you can assume that they have an interest in your professional development. 

“Working for a manager with no interest in your future just feels like a waste of time; they should want you to succeed as much as you do.  Are they looking for someone who is going to show leadership skills and be a potential leader, or someone who will follow instructions precisely?  Look out for questions about times when you have used your initiative – or if they want to know about previous responsibilities in past jobs.  If you’re hoping to move into a more supervisory position these types of questions could be key.”

In the worst sector, Property & Real Estate activities – including facilities managers – 29% said they wanted to leave.

Meanwhile only 14% of skilled tradesmen – including handymen and maintenance engineers – say they would leave their current job because of the quality of the management – the best in the country.

Goodhead added: “This just goes to show how inaccurate the stereotype of the selfish, inconsiderate white van man is.  Far from being overly aggressive, they’re the best leaders in the country!”