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Will tackling low pay tackle the ongoing skill shortage?

I refer to your 'Comment' leader in NCE 6 March, in which you say that 'We' have been talking about the need to tackle the current skill shortage in professional civil engineering.

It is a shortage caused by oversupply in the past.

I suspect that there is not a problem as far as technical numbers are concerned but that the real shortage is in management skills leading to under-use of available resources.

My premise is that it is very difficult to measure overall shortages except through the rate of increase of salaries indicating a tight marketplace.

I acknowledge that there are far better prospects for engineers now than for decades but would put it to you that professional engineers have not regained remuneration parity with say accountants or solicitors.

When our young graduates' career monetary prospects exceed those of other comparable professionals then we can reasonably say that there is a shortage. The management skill, we need to develop is to deliver a higher work value with the available engineers. I suspect this means differentiating between those capable of acting as "professional" rather than as "technician" engineers.

- MICHAEL DUNN (F), dunn.walnutacre@talktalk.net

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