CESA urges young professionals to take control of their future

13 August 2014

While a survey of South Africa’s young consulting engineers has revealed a pessimistic perception of the industry, a clear message emerged at the CESA Young Professionals Imbizo that young engineers had to be their own activists, advocating and mobilising the change they wanted to see.

A survey by the Young Professionals Forum (YPF) revealed remuneration, career development, training and mentorship as top issues for young consulting engineering graduates.

A lack of solid career development opportunities, or a lack of recognition, was the biggest concern for 57% of the 479 respondents.

43% felt that their salary was insufficient and, despite 91% being proud of their profession, half would abandon consulting engineering in favour of higher packages.

Nearly 45% of the young professionals indicated that being a consulting engineer was not rewarding enough to retain young professionals.

Training and mentorship by companies also fell short, with 43% being unhappy with training received from companies and 43% felt they did not receive the mentorship they coveted.

Further, the professional registration process was not understood by 53% of the respondents, while 14% added that tender and procurement processes were a challenge, and 81% believed that discounting consulting fees to arrive at lower tender prices for bids had an effect on the quality and accuracy of work.

YPF working group should determine “fair value” and lobby ECSA to reconsider the relevance of the fee scales and Cesa to “market the value” of engineers.

CESA should develop a career development plan for member firms incorporating key performance indicators.
Graduates supported CESA’s efforts to have the current complex procurement strategies amended to take into account the value for money that could be provided to projects, as opposed to just the lowest price bid.

Cesa CEO Lefadi Makibinyane noted that inputs had been made to National Treasury, but that greater advocacy was needed to ensure that Treasury amended the processes.

Young engineers should get “negative enough” and “worried enough” to stand up and start the change they wanted to see.
By: Natasha Odendaal
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