03 August 2010

Australian engineering shortage threatens growth

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An annual engineering survey has warned that engineering skills shortages will affect the country’s ability to grow and limit innovation.

The Engineering Skills Survey by Consult Australia warns that Australia's ability to design and deliver an estimated $400 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years is under threat unless government and industry can work together to provide solutions to the skills shortages.

The survey found, three quarters of firms reported that they are experiencing critical shortages and the stagnation in the number of graduates over the last decade has contributed to the difficulty in finding workers to fill engineering jobs.

"The survey results show that a skills shortage of engineers definitely still exists in the consulting industry," said Consult Australia CEO Megan Motto.

"Despite the downturn following the global financial crisis, the shortage is back just as strong as ever, demonstrating that the global shortage of engineers is a systemic problem."

The engineering discipline most affected by the skills shortages is civil engineering, over two thirds of firms reported, which is particularly alarming in light of the infrastructure spending focus by Federal and State governments.

Environmental engineers are also in short supply according to about one third of firms, a significant concern with climate change response, sustainability and energy efficiency high on government priority lists.

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