Entering the professional world : clear skies for Ecole des Mines de Nantes graduates

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The students have no trouble finding their first job on leaving the school, and benefit from favourable employment conditions. A sign that their training is geared to the needs of the companies.

An engineering degree from the Ecole des Mines de Nantes is a passport to employment, and today's students can look towards their future with confidence. This is shown in the latest annual survey on employment after graduation : four months after graduation, 78 % of the 184 graduates of 2014 were in employment, and 11 % were continuing their studies or doing a doctoral thesis. The net employment rate ( proportion of graduates in employment or doing voluntary work ) is therefore 90 %. Only 9 % stated that they were looking for work. Perhaps this is simply because those candidates who have special requirements – for example those who might be searching for a particular location for their first job, or have a particular company that they would like to work for. Better still : 64 % found work before graduating. The time it takes to find a job is often less than a month, and in general these good results are carried on from one year to another.

Even the employment rate for permanent contracts has increased for the school's graduates. As for the percentage of those being taken on at management level, results show 84 % two months after graduation, and... 99 % after six months. All this in a period of economic downturn.

Positive results on the salary front too, with an increase of 1.1 % in one year : on average, the graduates of 2014 get 37,469 euros (gross) bonuses included, within France – slightly more than the national average for young engineers – and as much as 60,533 euros abroad. "These results need however to be qualified, explains Frédéric Pallu, head of corporate relations. The starting salary depends on a number of factors, such as the state of the sector as a whole, the choice of options, or the location of the job - Ile-de-France, for example, "pays" better than other regions. Salaries abroad on the other hand, are sometimes atypical : a graduate taken on in Switzerland may single-handedly push up the average.

Another factor to consider is that the difference in starting pay between men and women is tending to diminish : the difference is now only 0.5 %. However the difference often increases thereafter...


Promising situation


There are a number of factors behind the successful transition into the professional world. First of all, there is of course the standard of training provided by the school – the quality of which is recognised and valued by companies. The general training given to the students provides them with long-term sustainable skills, while their specialist options facilitate their immediate access to employment. Added to this is the positioning of the school in growth sectors - energy, environment, and new technologies. Finally, the prospect of the merger with Télécom Bretagne is attracting the attention of recruiters and creating a favorable context.

"Generally speaking, the conditions for the transition from university to career remain very favourable, sums up Frédéric Pallu. No red flags have been raised concerning the transition to employment of our graduates. They are well prepared, particularly through modules which help them develop their career plans, to adapt to changes in companies as well as economic changes. They have no problems integrating companies which require highly qualified graduates – particularly in consulting, design, or planning."

In 38 % of cases, it is the work placement which helps graduates to get their first job. This shows how important internships are, particularly towards the end of the course. Company websites and specialised recruitment sites account for 31 % of recruitment. However spontaneous applications (9 %) or networking (particularly the Mines Nantes Alumni, the old students' association) have also proved to be effective.What are the priorities of graduates on the point of starting their working life?

What motivates them more than anything else, is to feel in sync with their employer. For 47 % of them, company values are the number one criteria. Then there is the match with their career plan, then interest in the position (37 %, a significant increase). As for the actual location of the first job, only 5 % of graduates feel that this is an important factor : in fact the majority have shown themselves to be mobile.

Until now, the energy sector has provided the greatest number of jobs, ahead of consulting, design, and planning. For the 3,200 graduates trained at the school since it opened, EDF has been the number one recruiter, with 3.5 % of the jobs. But there is a broad distribution. In total, 55 % of the graduates go into industry. It is true that the image of this sector has changed : gone are the days when it conjured up images of heavy work, noise and grime. An industrial company like Airbus, very present in the Nantes area has no problem attracting young engineers.

There is also an even geographical distribution : 48 % of the jobs  are located in the Paris area, 42 % in the provinces, and 10 % abroad. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland are among the most popular destinations. China, on the other hand, does not attract a great number.

Another finding : large companies attract a large proportion of graduates: 46 % of the graduates from Mines de Nantes opted for this type of employer – probably because they find them reassuring. "Not forgetting that the traditional idea of having a 'career', where you climb up the ranks, little by little, is still deeply engrained", points out Frédéric Pallu. Nevertheless the school does endeavour to put out the idea of another model, that of a "dynamic" career, with several changes during the course of one's professional life. Companies like EDF, Areva and Orange regularly recruit from the school. But others are growing in importance, like Assystem and Sopra, who have formed close links with Mines de Nantes.


SMEs left behind


Smaller businesses on the other hand, find it harder to recruit : only 27 % of young graduates turn to medium sized businesses and 24 % to SMEs. "They have a natural tendency to head towards large corporate groups, which they have already heard a lot about, explains the head. Whereas the medium sized businesses and SMEs need to make themselves better known. A company like Daher, an important partner of the school, remains relatively unknown." Throughout their course, the students gradually familiarize themselves with the world of SMEs, particularly during the second year. For its part, the Forum Atlantique, organised with six other schools in Nantes (Centrale, Oniris, Polytech, Icam, Ecole du bois…) strives to invite some innovative SMEs, bringing them together on a joint stand.

As for startups, this is still unfamiliar territory for them. That is the why the school business incubator plays such an important role : it helps to change the image the students have of these "fledgling entrepreneurs". For the moment, the number of young creators coming from the school remains relatively low. "But this kind of course should play a greater role in the future, says Frédéric Pallu. Especially as these new business models, alongside the present boom in innovation, correspond to the aspirations of many young people."


Past students get involved



The graduates of the Mines de Nantes feel a strong sense of belonging to the school. Many want to give something back to the school, as the saying goes, "giving back a part of what they received". Some of them are willing to take time off work to take part in the competitive entrance exams to select candidates. Others come to the campus and share their experience – for example during "Trajectory" day, when the second year students are choosing their specialist options. A number of past students are also involved in the students' entrepreneurship training, others regularly offer internships.

"The past students know each other, and often get together in regional groups, says Carole Pierre, head of alumni relations. Along with the present students, they really form a community, and are very attached to the school. Our mission is to help in placing young graduates."

"Our time at the school was very rewarding. It is quite normal that we should get involved in supporting it, explains Charlie Desmoulins (Class of 2008), working at EDF and member of the Mines Nantes Alumni board. We try to build up exchanges between the students and the different departments, in order to help them into the professional world. They have at their disposal a whole range of tools, such as the "CV Book", which boosts their chances of being recruited."

"The greatest strength of the school, is that it offers a broad range of skills, while remaining a general engineering school. As a result, graduates have a versatile and flexible profile, much appreciated by employers ", adds the young old student.


The first apprentice graduates


The first engineering apprentices at the Mines de Nantes  - of which there were 16 in total - graduated in 2014. In general, their transition into employment was as successful as for the other graduates from the school. The whole of the first year of graduates rapidly found a job  - albeit with a slightly lower salary than for the other graduates : on average 36,130 euros including bonuses, compared to 37,469 euros for their colleagues. On average, each of them received three job offers. The majority of the apprentices stayed in the Pays de la Loire region. A third of them were taken on by the company they were working with during their apprenticeship; while the others changed employment after their apprenticeship training.

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