Engineering firms in Victoria are set to put on more staff in the near term, according to a recent report.

In the PACE 2014 survey conducted recently by Aspect Personnel, three quarters of engineering firm respondents – all from Victoria – expect their business activity to increase this year whereas only four per cent expect business to decrease.

Because of this, firms planning to increase staffing levels during 2014 (62 per cent) outnumber those intending to reduce headcount (32 per cent) by almost two to one, and 87 per cent expect levels of remuneration to increase at the next salary review.

This compares favourably with 2013, when the numbers of firms who put on staff (36 per cent) was roughly the same as those who shed workers (32 per cent).

vic - staff level expectation

Across Australia, the labour market for engineering professionals has been impacted by the slowdown in mining activity; as at May, the Clarius Skills Indicator indicated that the nation had a surplus of 4,100 engineers, a phenomenon attributed primarily to the lesser number of engineers being required to operate and maintain resource related infrastructure as opposed to that required to design and build new mines.

In Victoria specifically, meanwhile, parts of the profession have no doubt been impacted by current headwinds facing sectors such as manufacturing and aircraft maintenance in Melbourne and Geelong.

Still, a number in the industry hope these effects will be at least partially offset by work on significant infrastructure projects such as East West Link and the Melbourne Rail Link.

Moreover, Victoria is significantly less exposed compared with other states to impact of the resource slowdown.

In other areas of interest, according to the survey:

  • The average firm surveyed employed 49 staff members
  • Women make up less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 53 per cent of cases, with females more likely to be employed in support roles and least likely to be in executive roles
  • Around three quarters of firms say contract staff make up less than five per cent of their workforce, while part-time staff make up less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 90 per cent of cases
  • On average, 32 per cent of tenders for work were successful last year
  • 62 per cent of firms conduct performance reviews every 12 months, while 32 per cent conduct these every six months.
  • Across all staffing categories, professional experience is the most important factor in selecting new staff followed by attitude and cultural fit.
  • 77 per cent of executive staff worked 45 hours or more per week compared with only 21 per cent of technical workers
  • A mobile phone was the most common form of fringe benefit/tool provided to executive and managerial employees; external training was more common for technical and administrative staff.

vic - staff level expectation