Fed up with hearing about all those young internet millionaires in Silicon Valley?
04 August 2000
Fed up with hearing about all those young internet millionaires in Silicon Valley? Well, there are plenty of successful young entrpreneurs in the engineering sector too: (Youth Opportunities / Young Guns - The Engineer 04 August 00).
Fed up with hearing about all those young internet millionaires in Silicon Valley? Well, there are plenty of successful young entrepreneurs in the engineering sector too: in mainstream manufacturers, start-up companies, and traditional family firms.
HELEN BEASLEY (reports).
Join an engineering firm at 22 and, if you keep your nose clean and work hard, you may be promoted to a managerial position by the time you reach your forties. This has long been the attitude of the more conservative manufacturing companies. But for many talented engineers, that is just not satisfying enough.
The five people we feature over the next three pages are all atypical in a sector where youth, in many cases, remains a barrier to responsibility and career success. All have broken the mould of the usual career path in engineering. On a personal level, all are verging on being workaholics, and are frighteningly self-confident. And they have all learned quickly a wide range of business skills by being involved in their companies at a top level at an early stage.
But there are vast differences in their operations. One runs an internet start-up, another a new company with an innovative new product. There is an engineer who has moved up rapidly thanks in part to time spent studying for an MBA. And there are two young bosses of their own family firms, determined to keep the businesses going, but perhaps also wondering if the growth potential of their inhertited businesses will satisfy their personal ambitions.
All these men are the exception rather than the rule. 'It is still rare to become the managing director of a manufactruing company by the age of 35,' says Mike South, head of recruitment consultant Jonathan Lee. South says most companies are looking for senior managers with an understanding of every aspect of a business, including technology and finance. They don't usually find them, but the more diverse the experience, the better the prospects.