There’s a post on John Redwood’s blog, which has comments that largely are more interesting than the article itself.
Do read through the comments if you’ve got the time.
Here follow a few excepts.
“Bill” wrote: “There are some exceptions of course, in the aerospace industry in particular, but manufacturing does not attract the brightest and the best, they go into the law, medicine, the city. Not so in Germany [...]“
“Mick Anderson” wrote: “As for “careers in engineering” – if your primary choice of employers are all small companies, you are limited in how you can grow your skills. Small companies need people who can adapt to fill many roles – this is a useful skill in this environment, but not a route to a seat on the board of a multi-national! Let’s face it, the entire board of directors for the average engineering firm is often the two blokes who initially started the company in a garage.”
“Simon D” wrote: “However, there are huge cultural problems. The last thing that the home counties and metropolitan middle class want is for Julian and Samantha to end up in manufacturing after all that sweat over their education. Far better to be a City lawyer or banker or some kind of media hot shot. Working for Government quangos is also OK. Better paid and better prospects. The last thing anybody needs is to be stuck in some failing manufacturing town in the Midlands or the North of England.”
“OurSally” wrote: “So, now we’re long gone you suddenly decide you need us after all. We engineers left the country in the 80s and 90s, leaving the rest of you to handle low wages, stupid managers and people who think engineers repair cars. Here in Germany we get a constant stream of disaffected Brits looking for (and finding) a better world. We get paid as much as doctors, and a Dipl.Ing. commands the same respect as a professor. [...] You want us back? Pay decent wages, copyright the word Engineer, give us 6 weeks holiday and Christmas boni and a decent canteen.”
“Brian E” wrote: “When I had contacts with the Germans, I was always addressed as “Herr Ing” and treated with the same respect as Doctors and Lawyers. The French had a similar attitude and there engineering is treated as probably the top profession; in both countries the pay reflects the status of the work, unlike the UK where it is probably the worst paid of all those occupations requiring formal qualifications. [...] Yes I enjoyed my work, but in retirement I am probably the worst off of all the various professionals that I know and would certainly not recommend anyone intending to work in he UK to go into engineering.”
“Daedalus” wrote: “And then you have the engineers reporting at a lower level to production all to drive down the costs of employing you. The thought of getting a job that pays £65K is a dream for most engineers.”
It’s interesting how not a single commenter tried to defend the current situation.