The transition from resource-based economy to more and more innovative, diverse and technology-based one generates a demand for different kinds of knowledge and capabilities than ever before. The know-how needed in the new economy is substantially based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. However, the rates of secondary students taking up these subjects are alarmingly low.
One of the biggest STEM based fields experiencing a lack of proficient employees is engineering. With engineering jobs on the rise, and the lack of graduates, Australia is facing a serious shortage in qualified engineers to keep up with the demand of this ever growing industry. And it looks like this situation is not changing anytime soon. In the hope of becoming a globally competitive, innovative and technically progressive nation, Australia needs to come up with ways to attract and retain engineering talent in the best possible ways.
What to do about this issue
As the industry keeps developing, we have to keep up. Even though the basic principle of engineering remains the same, people working around it are more progressive and innovative. Therefore expectations and the way of working has changed compared to 20 years ago. We are finding the industry is becoming less hands on and more technical and desk-bound.
Due to the rapid growth within the industry, it is becoming more difficult to employ skilled Australian engineers thus resulting in outsourcing the work overseas or migrating skilled engineers into Australia. Currently 57% percent of engineers working in Australia are immigrants, with this number increasing yearly. We need a solution to encourage more Australian students to study Engineering instead of relying on skilled migrants.
Industry 4.0, otherwise known as the fourth industrial revolution, is bringing along new technologies and thereby new challenges, especially when it comes to finding capable professionals to fill critical roles – almost two-thirds of engineering companies are already announcing that they are experiencing a skill shortage. FlexiEngineers intends to address the problem by using a digital platform to connect qualified engineers with projects in fast and streamlined ways.
The platform also makes finding the right connection less pricey. It is hard to define the exact amount of money but it has been estimated that the lack of access to the right talent has already caused huge economic losses, for example in productivity and recruitment costs that could have been avoided. Through their platform, FlexiEngineers assists the industry to fill the project roles with the right talent in a cost-effective way.
Finding, recruiting and hiring the right talent is notably easier through a suitable platform that is created specifically for the engineering field. Finding the right contract roles on other mainstream generic job boards can be challenging. FlexiEngineers allows both engineers and companies to find each other and overcome the normal barriers that are sometimes present – which is vital for small companies who deal with excessive regulations , slowing down projects, costing small business’s time and money which they can’t afford.
The impact of engineering to our everyday life is immense and expanding the engineering capability of Australia is extremely important. The need for engineers is constantly growing due to the fact that engineering is required to resolve critical global challenges such as ecosystem damage, pollution and resource depletion.
People’s perceptions of engineering are not always open-minded and it can be seen as boring or useless. This is why the importance of the role engineers have in solving the urgent issues of our time should be emphasized, and the importance of engineering in general should be highlighted and marketed as an eligible career choice to young people.
“Engineering is amazing and we need to sell ‘amazing’ to the kids at school” says Khush Jabble, a Former Global Engineer HeadHunter and company founder. “Get the kids involved, spark their imagination, perhaps have meccano classes, I don’t know – but we do need to try and inspire the kids, in a different way.”