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.