Engineering skills crisis threatens projects

The consulting industry has warned that engineering skills shortages will continue to constrain Australia’s growth and limit innovation. Australia’s ability to design and deliver an estimated $400 billion in infrastructure projects over the coming decade is under threat, according to Consult Australia’s annual Engineering Skills Survey released recently.

"The survey results show that a skills shortage of engineers definitely still exists in the consulting industry," Consult Australia CEO Megan Motto said. "Despite the downturn following the GFC, the shortage is back just as strong as ever, demonstrating that the global shortage of engineers is a systemic problem."

According to the survey, three quarters of firms reported that they are experiencing critical shortages.
Importantly, industry recruitment still continues as pipeline work provides a significant amount of buoyancy to the industry. Motto said the number of engineering graduates had stagnated over the last decade, contributing to the problem.

"Environmental engineers are in short supply according to about one third of firms. "With climate change response, sustainability and energy efficiency high on government priority lists, significant concern is warranted," said Motto.