ENGINEERING: Engineers Confident Status Will Improve
Recent Western Cape Business News
South Africa’s engineers have grown increasingly confident in the status of their own profession, yet serious concerns remain about the current skills shortage in the profession and the standard of the education system training future engineers, according to a quarterly survey conducted by PPS.
The survey, of nearly 800 South African engineers, revealed a seven percentage point increase in confidence that the status of their profession will improve, from 55% for the first quarter of 2012 to 62% for the second quarter. Furthermore, 76% of engineers would encourage their children to enter their profession, up two percentage points from the previous quarter.
According to Gerhard Joubert, Head of Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at PPS, the financial services provider focused on graduate professionals, the results of the survey are very positive in light of the dire skills shortage currently facing the engineering profession.
“Possible reasons behind this boost in confidence could be the recent naming of six African infrastructure projects - two of which are located in South Africa - by global professional services firm KPMG among its list of 100 ‘most innovative and inspiring’ infrastructure projects in the world. This accomplishment serves as an inspiration for local engineers as their hard work is being globally recognised.”
Confidence levels of respondents on whether the current skills shortage in their profession will be adequately addressed by the government in the short to medium term rose by only one percentage point to 41% from 40% recorded for the first quarter.
“While this confidence level is up, it is still a very low overall, highlighting the fact that engineers recognise the threat the current skills shortage presents to the profession,” says Joubert.
Latest statistics from the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) reveal that the ratio of one engineer to every South African citizen currently stands at approximately 3 166, which is highly unfavourable compared with other developing countries such as India and Brazil which have one engineer to every 157 and 227 citizen respectively.
Commenting on the survey results, Vaughan Rimbault, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering (SAIMechE), highlighted that skills development, particularly the conversion from graduate to engineering professional, was receiving priority attention from professional engineering institutions, ECSA, the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) and the Department of Public Works.
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