• Engineering Professionals - Is your industry association doing enough?
Engineering Professionals - Is your industry association doing enough?
10 Aug, 2018, 2 Comment

Summary: Many of my 5,000 LinkedIn connections will know of my quest to help despondent engineers in what are changed economic circumstances.....

Many of my 5,000 LinkedIn connections will know of my quest to help despondent engineers in what are changed economic circumstances. Circumstances where the number of engineers looking for work far outstrips the jobs available. Numbers of these active job seekers being estimated at 40,000 just in Western Australia and that does not even account for other depressed markets like Queensland (O&G, Mining and Power), Victoria (Power & Manufacturing), NSW (Electrical & Mechanical) and SA (across the board) where equally frustrated engineers talk to me frequently telling me "what have we become and why did we ever consider engineering in the first place?". Not a great thing happening as an industry.

And that's just the active job seekers.

This excludes the passive job seekers frustrated at work, but so caught up with the treadmill of life, alternating between uninspiring work which saps their energy, to home life which they'd like to spend more time in, but find it hard to, because their jobs are constantly on the line. No feedback sometimes from their managers. No alternatives externally. No salary increases over the years. No career progression opportunities.

And no support from industry.

And don't let media or industry associations fool you into thinking that things are improving.

The media will tell you that lots of jobs are being created. But how does this compare to the tens of thousands of jobs lost since 2005 and these individuals who'd lost their jobs have not left Australia. They are still here - silently suffering.

And with the number of jobs created, to what extent does it offer full employment?

I see through Job Transition Strategy lots of engineers telling me that even though they are "employed" they are on contract or on a casual basis with the work tap being turned on and off to suit the employer. So there is a real casualisation of jobs happening.

To prove this, I took from the ABS Census Bureau website, the seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs by all persons from Jan 2005 to June 2018 and related that to the total number of employed persons for the same period, to come up with the hours worked per person during that period. Graph as under: 

You can see that even though more people are employed, they are working "on average" fewer hours. And then there are others who've been asked to work longer hours - without getting any commensurate increase. Doing this graph for WA is a lot worse. And I'd say Queensland would be similar.


So things are not getting better.

Now I've approached different industry associations telling them, more on the career front needs to be done for engineers.

And the answer I am getting is that they have a full agenda and cannot do this.

So I thought I'd ask you as to what you feel about the need for this and whether you believe your industry association is doing enough on this front.

Here is a 2 question survey and I would really appreciate as many engineers doing it as possible so that I can take it back to the industry associations and make a case for more needing to be done for engineers by the industry bodies. Can you please help me, to help you by completing this?




Ray Pavri, LinkedIn, 09/08/18

  • MyPassion

    06 Sep, 2018

    Good Day Ray, Repeated claims appearing in the media about the impending shortage of engineering professionals is farcical. I joined a Perth based international consulting engineering company in early 2011 as a graduate after completion of Masters in Electrical Engineering. My '4 year graduate program' was terminated prematurely with the demise of the mining boom 2013. I was helpless and floundered from door to door in search of an opportunity. The ignominy of joining the unemployment que was heart breaking and adversarial attitude of Centre Link only added to my misery. Whilst searching for an opportunity, I volunteered to help an organisation that designs equipment for individuals with physical disabilities. I ran out of funds to sustain myself after an year and decided to try my luck overseas and went to UK. I have now worked with Arup and Associates on Data Centres in Europe, Balfour Beatty Group on Buiding Services, a local Consulting Engineering Company on Building Services, Imperial college on Jupitor Space Program for the European Space Agency and now with Scottish Southern Electricity Board on utilities. It is now 4 years since I left home in Perth. I return to Perth regularly in forlorn hope of a job opportunity so that I can support my aging parents. I feel that we have squandered the opportunities created by the mining boom in securing the future of 'our young engineers' that could help adjust the sails and navigate us through the storm of disruptive technologies comfortably well into the future. May be I am a dreamer ........but then, without dreams, there is no hope. Misinformation about skill shortages should be banned and the industry should be proactive in addressing the requirements for diverse competencies as the nation progresses.
  • MyPassion

    10 Aug, 2018

    Hi Ray, If the Offshore Oil and Gas is anything to go by, it’s entirely plausible that these industries as a whole are also under an ideological attack from the current government. The problems is sometimes it’s hard to see which side the industry bodies are on. The Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) successfully campaigned to get,”Marine Engineer”, taken from the skills shortage list for 457 visas only to have the Australian Mines and Minerals Association (AMMA) to advise the Employers to now use the newly created 400 visa for their foreign worker requirements. As they now say time to grow a beard, get some tattoos and apron and get down to your local cafe and join the new economy

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