Shortlist posted a very interesting article in December 2010 providing insight into the crisis on the serious short supply of engineers at both a national and global level. A recent report produced by the Australian National Engineering Taskforce (ANET) stated that the engineering talent shortage was crippling construction and development in Australia, and that the skills shortage was chronic.
Presently, more than half of the new qualified engineers working in Australia are skilled migrants. The report identified that the crux of the problem was the significant gap that lay between the number of tertiary qualified graduates and the needs of key industries. Hence, Australia’s current reliance on qualified engineers from overseas in an already very competitive global market. The undersupply of engineers is not only on a national but also a global scale. The report also highlighted engineering skill shortages in the US, UK, China and India.
The report stated that in order to rectify this problem, the Australian government would need to focus on making changes within the entire educational sector. Specifically, to look at ways of motivating students (at both primary and secondary level) to actively participate in key subjects such as mathematics and science; and to better promote the engineering career to secondary level students. In addition, the tertiary education sector would need to change in order to cater and be more responsive to employers’ needs.
The report was conclusive in stating that the lack of engineering talent was causing significant, ongoing problems for the engineering sector in terms of millions of dollars in lost opportunities, and cost blowouts for companies working on specific projects due to underestimating staffing resources.