It’s hard to believe that it is Christmas time and as always, I realise that the year has once again flown past. I always look forward to Christmas because it is a time when we can spend more time with our friends and family. As a business owner, it is also a good time to step back and to reflect on the business year, in particular to revisit the goals that we set ourselves at the beginning of the year.
It is easy, when we are busy, to fall into the trap of working in the business rather than working on the business. Having a break gives us the opportunity to step back from the business and to have a critical look at it. This coming year is shaping to be another busy one for Fraser Thomas Ltd. We are moving into our new offices, which will be more suitable for our expanding workforce. We are working with some inspirational clients, who are challenging our engineering ingenuity and will ensure that we are exposed to some exciting engineering challenges next year.
That being said, next year my goal is to try and make more time in my busy schedule, to ensure that I have more time for my wife and kids and also for myself. Success in business typically takes a lot of time and effort, but we also need to try and prioritise working on ourselves, in order to enable us to maintain our health and focus (which ultimately will help to improve our businesses).
One of the biggest on-going problems facing engineering consultancy firms is the lack of engineering professionals available. This creates problems with resourcing projects and growing businesses.
I heard recently that the average age of engineers is 45 and that a lot of the more senior engineers are fast approaching retirement. The reasons are multi-faceted and relate to issues such as the rise of the IT industry, which has attracted students who would traditionally take up engineering studies, and the pull of higher overseas salaries, particularly in the mining sector. We also do not produce enough engineering graduates, which is exacerbated by the fact that some of the engineering students are overseas students, who usually return to their country of origin for work.
Perhaps one of the biggest factors is that engineers traditionally are not good at promoting themselves and, as such, potential engineers of the future are not always aware of the amazing opportunities that an engineering career can offer. If young people had a better understanding of what engineers do, then perhaps more of our students would aspire to be the designer of the next major large dam, motorway or Sky Tower, and not the creator of the next popular PS4 game.
I would encourage the parents of any children with inquisitive minds to consider a career in engineering. The course can be quite challenging, but your children will be guaranteed employment in a well-paying industry, which will offer challenges and progression throughout their career.