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Employers must spell out conditions


Ever since I can remember there has been incessant grumbling in this journal about the poor salaries and conditions of civil engineering.

The common consensus from employers and employees alike is that market forces of supply and demand are the causes of this dilemma. However, it has often been cited that some employers have been unscrupulous in exploiting these forces by withholding information, eg. not spelling out all the conditions of an expatriate assignment, or not letting on how much had been budgeted for the post.

As an engineer who has recently retrained as an economist I have learned a great deal about market forces, the primary lesson being that they are most effective when information is freely available to all. In this regard I would propose that one of the roles of ICE - for the benefit of its members (for a change) - would be to propose a professional code of ethics for employers within the Institution.

One of the features of this code would be to recommend that all information relating to a proposed appointment, including salary range, be made available to the candidates at least, or even better, to be included in the advertisement. Sadly, I very strongly doubt that ICE would dare to venture into controversial territory such as this.

Unfortunately, only on extremely rare occasions do I see a post advertised in your journal outside the public sector that states the proposed salary range on offer. Notwithstanding the unwillingness of ICE to make a stand, I feel that your journal could take the lead by insisting that all posts in the appointments section declare a salary range. This would not only ensure that those seeking employment know what is on offer but also those currently in employment would know their own market value.

Keith Burwell (M)

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