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WG2 – Output 2: Industry Expectations and Requirements

Start date: 01/09/2020
End date: 20/02/2021
Leading organisation: Zilinska univerzita v Ziline
Participating Organisations: Aston University, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, EURNEX e.V., Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Technische Hochschule Wildau, Sveuciliste u Zagrebu, Universidad de Málaga.

Aim of the WG

The aim of the WG was to study and analyse rail industry expectations and requirements for skills development.

General Description of the Work Done

The methods used in this WG are a survey in the railway industry and a job market offers analysis. The online industry expectations and requirements survey was realized in two ways, an English version and a German version, by requirements of pilot research that was conducted first. For both surveys an online questionnaire was created, differing in some of the questions and in the language.
Both questionnaires consisted of:

  • general questions e.g. the participant category the company belongs to and about completed study courses and practical experience preferred when recruiting new employees/engineers
  • the assessment of skills which rail companies require (in the English survey from the strategic, tactical and operational point of view, by Rail Careers Matrix)
  • questions of soft abilities of graduates

The English survey was send to contacts in 25 European countries and reached 54 participants. The German survey was conducted in Germany and received 41 responses. The questionnaires were evaluated separately for the English and the German version as well as together for congruent questions.

Within the job market offers analysis job offers in the EU for rail related jobs within the EQF-levels 5-8 were analysed. The sample size was ~20 job offers per investigated country (Sweden, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, UK, Ireland, Spain), in total 191 job offers.

Main Results

The main result of the English survey is a summary of the required skills of new employees within the three levels (strategic, tactical and operational) of the Rail Careers Matrix and according to the type of company:

  • infrastructure manager
  • freight transport operator
  • regulation authority
  • rolling stock manufacturer
  • engineering and consultancy company

The needed skillset is documented in the output report of WG2 “Output 2 final report” on pages 26-30.

Key statements that can be derived from the German survey are:

  • When recruiting engineers, companies prefer people with a degree in transportation system engineering, transport engineering, mechanical engineering or industrial engineering.
  • Practical experience of new employees is essential. Almost three quarters of the companies prefer that newly hired employees have experience from a similar position lasting more than one year and likewise almost three quarters of the companies that they have completed an internship in their company. Only 5 % of the companies stated that no previous knowledge is required for employment in their company
  • Especially within rail related specialist knowledge and practical knowledge of graduates the companies see the need for better preparation during the studies.

The results of the German survey are documented in the output report of WG2 “Output 2 final report” on pages 34-43.

The results of the job market offers analysis are:

  • More than half of the job offers are either in the Infrastructure or Vehicle group when looking at the distribution of the investigated job offers by the career groups of the Rail Careers Matrix (RCM). Operations and signalling make another quarter. All other groups combined come to around 20%. The first four groups are prone to be more railway specific than the remaining ones. This signifies the industries need for staff with railway specific backgrounds or education.
  • The distribution of career levels within the RCM groups varies quite strongly. However, the bulk part of job offers across nearly all groups are on the tactical level. The only two outstanding groups being Administration and Operations.
  • Almost 50% of all jobs require a bachelor’s degree, around a third a master’s degree.
  • The differences between the countries are significant. This results of national varieties on the job market, but also in the way the academic paths are structured.

The full job market offers analysis can be found in the output report of WG2 “Output 2 final report” on pages 11-20.

Documents for Download

The output report (Output 2 final report) is available at

astonrail_handbook/astonrail_project/wg2.txt · Last modified: 2023/05/02 11:54 by anne-katrin_o