The sector that might surprise you…

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For those of you that haven’t met me, my name’s Sarah Collins and I work in the Careers+Placements team. I’m one of a team of business-facing staff, which means I spend most of my time talking to and meeting with businesses to talk about how amazing you, our students and graduates, are.

One of the things I’ve found really interesting since working here is that there are thousands of businesses interested in employing you, and sometimes they don’t quite know how to connect with you and let you know about the types of jobs they have. This is especially true of certain sectors, and I’m writing this blog to tell you a bit more about one of them. See if you can guess which one it is before I tell you. In the meantime, it’ll be like a good version of Voldemort – the sector that shall not be named.

Here are your clues:

  1. In 2018/19 the school with the most placement students in this sector was Aston Business School.
  2. Job titles of Placement and Graduate roles Aston students and grads have secured in previous years include: Marketing Intern; HR Intern; Trainee Sales Engineer; Digital Technology Intern; Lab Technician; Product Engineer; Mechanical Engineer; Business Analyst; HR Associate; Supply Chain Assistant; Commercial Manager; Buyer; Project Planner.
  3. The West Midlands is famous for being a hub for this sector in the UK.
  4. There are also lots of opportunities in this sector overseas in countries like Germany and China.

Any ideas yet?

Well, here’s a bit more detail…

There are students and/or graduates from all four main schools [1] at Aston currently working in this sector, and there are opportunities open to all of you regardless of the course you are studying. Many of you might not think this sector is relevant to your course (which is why I’m writing this!), so if you don’t explore it you might miss out on a fantastic opportunity.

44% of all the businesses [2] in this sector registered on Aston Futures (you know, that great jobs portal we have) are in the West Midlands, so it’s a great sector for local roles with many businesses right on our doorstep. Over 97% all 2018/19 Aston placements in this sector were paid, so businesses in this sector are investing a significant amount of money in recruiting students. They want you!

Many companies within this sector are open to speculative applications and they like it when students/graduates are proactive about approaching them for opportunities. This gives you an opportunity to really stand out and potential to tap into the hidden jobs market.

Our top 3 placement providers (which means they’ve recruited the most placement students) in this sector for the last 3years have all also been in the top 10 across all sectors, so they employ lots of you compared to other sectors.

If you haven’t guessed it already….the answer is (drum roll please)…. Engineering & Manufacturing!

It’s an exciting sector to be involved in at the moment as there are huge changes to all aspects of businesses due to automation, robotics and new product innovations. Marketing in particular in this sector is really exciting, just go along to one of the big engineering expos at the NEC like Automechanika (or a conference closer to where you are) to see the way they market using innovative tools like holograms and VR. There are also some really interesting roles coming through including operations, HR (especially if you’re interested in diversity in the workplace and attracting diverse talent), Finance, Business Analytics, International Business (if you speak a different language this can be really useful), Project Management – and of course not forgetting all you engineers out there from all courses!

All major jobs portals will have opportunities within the Engineering & Manufacturing sector, and if you haven’t seen it, have a look at the app Debut to see many opportunities within this sector (and other sectors) and possibly get talent-spotted.

Remember, the Careers+Placements team is here to help you throughout your time at Aston and up to 3 years after graduating, our Careers Consultants are happy to support you in exploring different options and getting you ready to bring you’re ‘A’ game to those applications and interviews.


[1] Aston Business School, Languages & Social Science, Life & Health Science and Engineering & Applied Science. [2] As of August 2019.

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