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New and young engineers are getting the highest pay rate rises. According to a survey released by Engineers Australia recently, starting salaries on average increased 13.3% for 2007. The highest increases were for graduates and for those starting out in the industry. Engineers with between 4 to 10 years experience saw a 10.7% increase in salaries.
Simon Cavenett, Director of Professional Practice (Engineering), says this is great news for students with starting salaries rising higher than inflation.
“Graduate starting salaries are increasing treble the rate of inflation. There is a shortage of between 20,000 to 28,000 professional engineers in Australia. This is creating a very strong demand for engineers and making it a very attractive market for graduates,” says Mr Cavenett.
“Only 8,000 students graduate nationally. There is such a backlog of demand for engineers across all streams, that even if there was a down turn in the economy demand for engineers wont evaporate because of all the concerns facing society. The demand for engineers is fuelled by multiple issues,” explains Mr Cavenett.
“The impact of engineering to society is significant. Engineers have a flow on effect to society in general. If resources are not available the implications are critical. A large amount of demand for engineers is driven by climate change and other large scale issues, such as water management, environmental sustainability and urban growth. Such issues are solved by engineers. It is engineers that implement major infrastructure projects, like building dams, water pipelining, creating housing and transportation solutions. If there are not enough engineers, the consequences are dire. Infrastructure delays due to a lack of professional engineers. Some areas, particularly water management, are going to hit crises point due to skills shortage,” says Mr Cavenett.
With underlying demand for professional engineers continuing to increase, it is a good time to be studying engineering and graduating. Engineering graduates can be selective about the type of employer and location they want to work for.
Mr Cavenett says with the current market, it is essential that students consider the implications when choosing a University and career.
“When students are selecting Universities to attend, they must consider what their career goal is. They need to be graduating with the right skills and abilities that employers want.
“It is very different today than twenty years ago. Then it was expected by employers that it would take two years to get a graduate up to the expected level of productivity. These days the expectation is that graduates will hit the ground running and be producing results within 6 months. These demands by industry are passed on to the University, as an institution we need to produce graduates that employers can get to reasonable productivity levels quickly. Our graduates need to be fully equipped and ready to go,” says Mr Cavenett.