Over the past year or so NCE has questioned the salary of professional civil engineers and has suggested it is lagging behind other professions.
The extra money within the industry is now very apparent but it seems the only people benefiting from this up-turn are temporary agency staff, often recruited overseas, with little experience of the work they are asked to do.
These staff are often on a one week notice period and so can have little loyalty. Services are hawked to the highest bidder and the hourly rate for many of these staff is above that of senior management in the same organisation.
Whilst this may seem like sour grapes, it does have a negative impact on the service provided. Not only does it lower the morale of existing staff and hence reduce their performance, but it also upsets the continuity of the service.
The turnover of agency staff also puts added pressure onto permanent staff and makes it impossible for managers to plan and target their resources, knowing they are only a phone call away from losing another member of staff.
From an individuals point of view the answer may be to join this band of temporary staff. But from the service perspective it is perhaps time clients got tougher and insisted that providers ensure they have sufficient qualified permanent staff to deal with the commissions on their books.
Michael Jarrett (AM), 14 Church Green, Totternhoe, Beds, LU6 1RF