About the campaign

The work of engineers is critical to the economy of NSW.

Engineering work is diverse and occurs across numerous sectors, including residential construction, civil works, community assets, electricity networks and transport infrastructure. Our state needs a professional engineering workforce playing a central role in addressing our state’s economic challenges and driving growth.

Give the importance of engineers to NSW, it is critical that we have the regulatory framework, education settings and necessary investment in our public sector agencies and state-owned corporations to build and maintain our state’s engineering capability at the level it needs to be.

The problems

Skill shortages
Currently, there is a growing skill shortage of professional engineers and too many non-engineers working in jobs that should be performed by qualified, professional engineers.

Skills shortages are also creating excessive workloads for the professional engineers which is leading to poor mental health outcomes.

The over reliance on non-engineers in project management and decision-making leads to poor project scoping, design and delivery which is devaluing the profession while increasing project waste and cost, as well as impacting our quality of life.

Under investment in training and professional development
NSW is not adequately investing in the engineering workforce of the future. The days of sufficient numbers of engineers being properly trained and professionally developed in government agencies and organisations are long gone and industry has failed to step up to fill the void.
Lack of professional recognition
There is no clear plan from the NSW Government to lift the standing of the engineering profession. Engineering advice is not taken seriously enough or sometimes not considered at all (aside from Class 2 apartment buildings).

The absence of a statutory engineer registration scheme means that, unlike in other states, anyone can still call themselves an engineer in NSW regardless of their qualifications, experience, or competency.

Over-reliance on outsourcing
The outsourcing of engineering work to private and overseas companies is costing jobs, curtailing career paths and further eroding NSW (particularly the government’s in-house engineering capacity). And migration and temporary visas have been used by some business organisations as a substitute for the development and implementation of a properly resourced internal engineering workforce plan.

Lack of diversity in engineering workforce
A significant gender pay gap within the profession, and a failure by many workplaces to provide an inclusive environment for women engineers is driving young women away from engineering at a time when we need the best and brightest.

All forms of diversity must be embraced, to ensure that all workers feel safe and comfortable at work.

Putting in place proper strategies to address the attraction, professional development, and retention of women in engineering should be a priority for the NSW Government.

Together, we can Engineer a Better NSW

Professionals Australia has started the Engineering a Better NSW campaign to make sure that these critical issues are placed on the agenda in the lead up to the state election on 25 March 2023.

We believe that NSW needs a professional engineering workforce playing a central role in addressing our state’s key economic challenges and driving growth and our members are seeking to gain an understanding from our various political representatives about how they intend to meet these challenges.

At a time of unprecedented, planned infrastructure investment, it is vital that NSW has the right settings within public and private organisations to rebuild our engineering capability and unlock the social and economic value added by engineers to our lives and our lifestyles.

We surveyed professional engineers in NSW across a wide range of workplaces including transport, energy, water, local government, consulting and the private industry. 75% of respondents ranked engineers not being valued or included in decision-making at work as the greatest challenge facing professional engineers.

Download the report here.

This report highlights the key challenges facing professional engineers and the key reforms needed to rebuild engineering capacity in NSW.
4 Key reforms
  1. The introduction of a statutory, broad-based engineer registration scheme to ensure only qualified professional engineers are completing engineering work.

  2. Ensuring public sector engineers are paid market competitive rates of pay to attract and keep them.

  3. A requirement for funding-based cadet and graduate programs on all government infrastructure projects.

  4. Policies to actively encourage more young people to study engineering - including study assistance programs.
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