•  Engineers in Australia facing bad times? Or is this a hyped up statement?
Engineers in Australia facing bad times? Or is this a hyped up statement?
03 Jan, 2018, 2 Comment

Summary: Are these bad times for engineers in Australia?....

To a recent blog I'd written about how tough it is for engineers in Australia, someone asked me - Are these bad times?

Here is my considered response.

Yes; these are tough times for engineers especially those within the mining, oil & gas, manufacturing, coal fired power generation, transmission and distribution industries.

I say this from having interviewed over 500 individuals recently for over 45 minutes each from engineering backgrounds as diverse as civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical, telecommunications, estimating, etc - from places like Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, regional Queensland, regional WA, regional Victoria, Adelaide, etc. from large companies like BHP, Rio Tinto, Worley Parsons, Kentz, etc to mid to small sized companies.

Have a look at www.jobtransitionstrategy.com/testimonials for several who've gone through my Program, having seen dreadful times, who have survived and are now thriving. But dreadful times they've certainly faced at some stage.

Traits include people suffering from bullying in the workplace, safety issues in regional Australia getting low attention with those complaining shown the door, the suffering of depression, low self-esteem increasing, the questioning about whether engineering is the right field for them, what path engineers could take, given the market looks dreadful with few choices, to being employed but hating every minute of work therein with no choices to make a move, with employers having a "could not care attitude" paying zero to very low salary increases - and the stories continue. This does not even include new migrants and those unemployed and who face ageism issues. I am talking about those employed and who are facing tough, tough conditions.

Statistics show around 87% dislike what they are doing and would make a move if choices were available.

Job ads within Job Boards get 400 to 1,000 applicants with almost all not getting a response to applications made. Permanency within jobs is gone with several jobs in WA and QLD being of a short term nature. Try getting a loan from a bank or sustaining a mortgage on the back of short term job prospects. House prices in WA and QLD have tumbled and with people having lost their jobs or on the cusp of losing their jobs or sick of what they do but not able to lose their job, the prospect of losing their home adds to this terrible situation.

Recruiters never return phone calls and the ads which are put on job boards by recruiters are rarely responded back to. After all, given a huge database called Linkedin whats the relevance of a job board? And with over 70% of jobs going via networks what chance does someone have, if their networks are not powerful or they do not have the skills to connect and build relationships towards their next opportunity or they are working 10-12 hours a day - so this is infeasible?

For industries like Building Services, Renewables of all forms, Defense, infrastructure - some engineers say its never been better - especially in the Eastern states of Australia.

But every industry which has a great time, has a pretty ordinary time coming up, as part of the cycle. And the downward cycle may not be a few months but could be several years. After all renewables could face a downturn if clean coal gets a run, based on political expediencies. Or if Trump initiated carbon emitting energy gets a global resuscitation what happens then? Or an oversupply occurs in building services or fields experiencing a shortage through targeted skilled migration (as happened for mining and oil and gas say 5 years back)?

If you are caught within the downward cycle irrespective of the industry and are made redundant or have the above things happen at the start of the downward cycle and had to tolerate that for 3-5 years including being unemployed - would you say that is a good situation to be in?

So in this being my response to this comment made - what do others feel?

Is it bad for engineers and is it necessary to know how to recession proof yourself irrespective of good times or bad times - or am I incorrect in my assertions?

Ray Pavri linkedin.com 3/1/2018

  • MyPassion

    Ray Pavri
    03 Jan, 2018

    Dear anonymous

    Its easy to do things within your control. In terms of one's career - do you feel everything is within your control?

    So I had a situation where in working for a large corporate, I'd spent 3 or so years doing great work while also aligning myself to the managing partner of a global leading consulting practice PWc. One fine day he resigned early because he found out someone in his family had a life threatening disease. It was a small section I was in of around 8 people and all my political capital was spent with this Managing Partner. When he resigned, someone else took over and his philosophy was completely different, in fact so alien to everything presently being done and a culture diagramatically opposite to mine and that of the previous Managing Partner, so much so that I decided to leave the company soon after. All that great work thwarted due to something outside my control. Now you may say I could have stayed on (as that was in my control) but does one need to sell their soul to maintain their career? Will that make anyone happy?

    Another instance is where you are working away and doing all the right things ..... Then your company is taken over by a company based in China, India, US, in fact it does not matter where from and the Head Office decides to bring in several of their guys from there to head up your division. What control do you have of your career progression then? And so on and so forth with multiple examples as to when things outside of your control take the career off to a tangent. And not all of this can be planned.
  • MyPassion

    03 Jan, 2018

    Engineers have spent years of practice developing fail proof systems, perfecting the art of seeing problems before they happen and designing processes to manage failures without an interruption. I simply don't understand why they can't do the same with their fragile careers.
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