Engineering graduates are joining the workforce at an extremely difficult period for members of the profession, as firms cut staff or reduce work hours as part of efforts to better deal with the mining sector's downturn.

This is in stark contrast to just several years previously, when the peak in the mining boom made engineers highly coveted employees with no shortage of job opportunities. “It’s not as easy for graduates as it was a few years ago when four, five, six, even eight companies were all…