UTN engineers, among the most sought-after professionals in the job market

Three human resources recruiters agreed that UTN graduates have excellent prestige at the technical and social level, which increases their possibilities of obtaining the positions they apply for.

Publicada el 9 de julio de 2019

They are hardworking, committed, professional and effective, with a solid academic background. These are the characteristics of UTN graduates which companies value the most when recruiting engineers.

Three human resources recruiters interviewed by UTN En Movimiento agreed that the School graduates are especially valued in the market because they have excellent prestige both at the technical and social level.

Rocío Cabanelas, Supply Chain & Engineering Consultant at Adecco’s Spring Professional Argentina, stressed that UTN graduate professionals “are specially valued in relation to other technical universities, particularly due to the graduates’ technological training aimed at meeting the relevant industry’s needs. That, without undermining cultural and humanistic education, which allows them to work in hierarchical positions in the industry and in society, creating a spirit of social solidarity and mutual understanding in the relationship between capital and work.”

 “That means –she continued– that leadership or plant management positions require professionals with vast technical/practical experience, and at UTN they have the opportunity to develop in both aspects. Given the practical approach of the Engineering School, an engineering student in their early years may start their professional career as a mechanical technician and, once they graduate, move towards a more hierarchical position such as head of maintenance.”

For Susana Von Der Heide, president of the human resources consultancy that bears her name, “UTN engineers have built an image of great prestige and they are sought after. Their public identity in the employment world is grounded on the idea of work capacity, commitment, professionalism and high-level education.”

Andrea Bara, leader at Accenture’s Recruiting Latam, agreed that UTN graduates are valued in the employment market “because they possess a solid technical background and during their academic experience they have been able to internalize the sense of commitment and to establish priorities in order to be effective.”

Shortage of professionals in the market

According to the report entitled “Vacancy Areas: linkage, pertinence and planning in the university system”, written by the Argentine Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, based on cross-referenced data provided by the INDEC [National Institute of Statistics and Censuses], the Ministry of Finance, the University Policy Office and the National Institute of Technical Education (in Spanish, INET), only 4% of university students pursue undergraduate programs related to information and communication technologies and 2%, related to physics and mathematics.

In contrast, 25% of registered private employment focuses on the Construction and Industry sectors, where some of the main productive complexes of the region are located.

The report highlighted that “the implementation of the 111000 Plan has revealed the need to train people in the areas of information, communication and software.” In the Industrial Sector “the highest employment rates are found in the areas of Food, Chemical products, Other metal, rubber, plastic and textile products. Eleven percent of the academic offer is focus on this field, while 12% of university students are choosing undergraduate courses in this area.”

The Study reveals that the gap between the demand from the productive sectors and the university undergraduate courses chosen by young people across the country is 10%.

Of all the engineering branches, Industrial engineering is the most popular one with 12%; Civil, 9%; Chemistry, 6%; and Mechanical, 6%.

Engineer career profile

When a company seeks to hire a new engineer, it not only considers the candidates’ technical capabilities but also their social skills.

Susana Von Der Heide explained that “in addition to technical knowledge, companies today look for adaptable professionals, with leadership skills, management autonomy, who enjoy solving dilemmas and work with both the external context –whether they are clients or suppliers- and collaborators from other areas, so that they can collaboratively arrive at the best solution considering the business goal.”

For the Accenture’s Recruiting Latam leader, “we seek candidates with the technical skills required for the position, but soft skills, such as flexibility, ability to adapt to change, team work, good interpersonal skills, tolerance to frustration, and communication, are also of paramount importance. For supervisory positions, requirements include: client orientation, leadership, initiative and proactivity and effective communication. We also look for candidates who are capable of questioning the status quo, who are curious and who are able to think “out of the box” in order to identify and propose innovations. Most positions require an intermediate to advanced level of English.”

Rocío Cabanelas pointed out that “the engineer career profile has evolved from managing specialty-related aspects only to being capable of applying more humanistic knowledge, mainly focused on leadership and management, in addition to developing business skills which will make them more versatile.”

 “Engineering education –she continued– must be aligned with the ability to learn and to adapt to new situations. It is vital for them to have a 360 vision, since that way the person can focus more on interpersonal relationships and provide a more global perspective in the day to day business, which gives essential added value to organizations.”

The traits that companies value the most in engineers include: ability to learn, innovation, business orientation, business awareness reflected on their criterion applied to costs.

“Engineering continues to be a profession that “promises ingenuity” and that essence is increasingly becoming a valued differential attribute,” Von Der Heide stated.

In Cabanelas’s opinion, when hiring engineers, companies expect “proactivity and self-learning ability: candidates are expected to take proactive steps to solve problems and, even more, to propose improvements, even if they are not urgent. Self-learning in problem solving is a necessary requirement because it is no longer possible to accept a professional who will keep their arms crossed because they do not know how to do something.”

In addition, the specialist warned that “technical capacity is no longer enough in order to become an outstanding professional, but it is necessary to complement it with social skills. Only in this way can a person unleash their full potential. This includes being able to work in teams, interdisciplinarily, and making use of communication skills.”

Moreover, companies expect engineers to be resilient, that is, to accept “defeats” and to keep on working towards achieving their goals. Those capable of adapting to change will also have more opportunities.

Cabanelas further added that they are expected to have “executive skills”, including competences such as leadership, communication, team work and relationship with the environment. Given the nature of the courses taught at UTN, students acquire these abilities to a great extent, which is valued by companies.

“In addition, the ecosystem requires engineers to have the ability to continuously innovate, considering the added value that this provides and the sustainability of the environment where they are inserted,” she stressed.

Demand to Universities

The dramatic transformations experienced in the job market have opened the debate in academic settings in relation to the best teaching strategies to accompany those changes without compromising quality in the education of future professionals. But, what does the business sector expect from higher education? The president of Von Der Heide consultancy stated that Universities should train their future graduates in human resources management: “it is necessary to open a chapter devoted to leadership and people management. The so-called soft skills require broader attention from university.”

According to Andrea Bara, Accenture’s Recruiting Latam leader, it is vital for professionals to graduate with a good level of English. “Besides, it is very important for them to keep getting updated on new technologies and new programming languages which are being taught in parallel in non-university institutions, which UTN students attend. The market also demands work experience from candidates and in our country there is a high percentage of students who start working at early stages in their undergraduate studies, so they search for shorter study programs, particularly in technology.”

The key to development

The three sources interviewed agreed that engineers will play a key role in the development of nations: “they will have active participation, responding to new emerging needs of the Hyperhumanistic-Hypertechnological context of the 21st century. Which Engineering branch will include linguistics so that robots answer and interpret messages? How will they integrate to medicine and to fields experiencing sincere transformation? These are great challenges which will require a lot of courage from professionals to redesign their career plan and to become continuous learners in order to keep updated,” Von Der Heide stated.

In Bara’s view, Engineering branches will experience exponential growth “particularly with the development seen in the export service area. Today, absolutely all industrial/commercial sectors are affected by technology, so it will be essential to promote and train more systems engineers or professionals in related areas in the coming years.”

Cabanelas expressed that “the Engineering profession is no longer associated to the construction of public and civil works only but it has become a referent in the area of technology and innovation, focused on community development. Engineers have a different role in society, economy and the development of nations: they are influential people, who play a leadership management role.”