Asked by rhsim1 to Alex, Claire, Kate, Marcus, Neil on 19 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Marcus Johns

      Marcus Johns answered on 19 Jun 2014:

      Engineering is just like any other job in that if you want a family, you can have a family. Depending on your actual job and who you’re employed by you may have to go away for up to a week or two at a time – for example, having to visit a factory or have a meeting in another country – but most of the time you’re based in one place.

      There are jobs where you would have to go away for longer – such as having to spend months at a time on an oil rig in the North Sea – but these jobs are generally given to people that don’t have a family in order to avoid any undue stress.

    • Photo: Alex Lyness

      Alex Lyness answered on 19 Jun 2014:

      Hey rhsim1,

      It really does depend on which time of engineering you go into. I agree with Marcus that in many ways engineering can be just like any other job with a 40 hour working week, 9am-5pm working hours and 22-28 days holiday a year. It’s a bit like school except you don’t get given homework to do in the evenings.

      Just like school, or any job, the more hard work you put into the qualifying and working the better you may do in the long run… and the more money you may go on to make! Sometimes this means travelling away or working long hours.

      I don’t have a family yet, my friend who sits next to me in the office is the same age as me and has 3 children and we both really enjoy our careers.

    • Photo: Claire Brockett

      Claire Brockett answered on 19 Jun 2014:

      hi rhsim1
      I think it depends on the role you are in. I’m an engineer at a university, and there is some flexibility in hours worked, which perhaps makes it more family friendly. There are definitely some of my more senior colleagues with children, and one of our professors recently had a baby, so it’s do-able. I’m hoping in the next couple of years to start a family, and I think being in academia will help – as long as I get the job done I can work the hours I need, so that might mean less hours in the week, and perhaps a few over the weekend.

    • Photo: Kate Niehaus

      Kate Niehaus answered on 19 Jun 2014:

      As the others have said, engineering roles vary widely. If you want to have a family, when the time comes, you can try to position yourself to be in a more flexible role or one with fewer hours.

      It all depends on your personal priorities. Some people may choose to spend more time at the office to get extra work done or go after a higher-paying job with more responsibility that requires more time travelling or at work. These people might see their job as not very family friendly. Others may choose to cut-back on their hours when they have children, or try to get into a more flexible role (perhaps academia) where they have more freedom over their hours. From what I’ve seen, you can go either way (or somewhere in the middle) with engineering, which is nice in comparison to some careers that are harder to balance.