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Australia – Engineers transitioning out of heavy industries face difficulties

17 October 2013

Engineers who once flocked to the mining industry now face stiff resistance from employers when applying for roles in the consulting or public sectors, reports recruiters Hays Engineering. However, honesty can help secure the job.

Simon Bristow, Senior Regional Director of Hays Engineering, said: “Many employers outside resources and mining are hesitant to employ engineering professionals with recent heavy industry experience. Rewind two, three or five years, and the heavy industry was the employer of choice for many engineers who wanted to take advantage of the mining boom.”

“Today many of these same candidates want to move back into the consulting or public sectors, but employers have concerns about their commitment and potential long-term tenure. As a result the transition back into the consulting engineering or public sector from the heavy industry can be challenging for these professionals,” Mr Bristow added.

But while bridging the gap from the heavy industry is difficult, it is not impossible. According to Hays Engineering, they key to making this transition is to be honest.

Mr Bristow continued: “If you want to move into a public sector job, you need to be sincere about why you want the work. The remuneration is substantially less than the heavy industry, so it is important to explain your motivations to your recruiter honestly.”

“If you are only looking for a stop gap until the heavy industry picks up again, let your recruiter know so they can manage  both your and the employer’s expectations and look for suitable contracts for you. In addition, if you have previous public sector project experience, highlight your involvement to draw an employer’s attention away from the heavy industry background.”

“The transition from the heavy industry into other areas of consulting engineering can also be difficult. Again the remuneration is lower than the heavy industry and private sector consultancy employers not operating within the heavy industry usually want candidates with strong networks within their areas of operation.”

“So it’s important that you demonstrate genuine motivation for looking within this area – whether it be for work-life balance, job security or interest in a specific project,” he said.

But given that recent relevant experience is important to any employer, looking for a full time position might be unrealistic. 

Mr Bristow concluded: “There are employers who are flexible and provided you can demonstrate a strong work ethic, passion for the industry and a desire to remain in the role long-term, they will be willing to give you an opportunity to make that transition. As a result, candidates often achieve a better work-life balance and non-financial benefits.”

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of jobs in demand, high demand exists for the following candidates:

  • Bridge Design Engineers
  • Overseas rail experience
  • Track Reliability Engineers
  • Signalling Engineers & OHL Engineers
  • Mid-level Building Structures Design Engineers
  • Urban Development Engineers
  • Senior Land Development Engineers
  • Traffic Engineers
  • Surveyors
  • Revit Drafters
  • Asset Managers

To read the full report, please click here

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