The most critical issue for engineering right now is a collapse in short and medium term employment opportunities for engineering graduates.
It’s not just the Corona Virus. Mobility restrictions and the oil price collapse are stopping engineering projects around the world.
Project cancellations and a loss of investor confidence will force engineering firms and suppliers to curtail hiring and many will close or stand down existing employees.
What can we, as a global community of engineers, do to help the next few cohorts of engineering graduates, many of whom will find it nearly impossible to find paid engineering work? If we don’t find ways to support these people, we risk losing a generation of engineers and stifling an economic recovery with critical engineering skill shortages.
Update May 1st 2020: A modest success. With the help of friends and politicians, I and others managed to persuade the Australian Treasury to modify the JobKeeper scheme to include startups like Close Comfort and many others. A lifesaver for us. Thank you to all those who listened and acted!
The Australian government’s business rescue packages, while welcome, have overlooked the future: thousands of small and successful startups. Startups in many other less fortunate countries may struggle to survive.
Our company, Close Comfort (www.closecomfort.com), a small family-owned business, cannot demonstrate a 30% year on year loss of business to be eligible for assistance because we have invested to grow our sales. Now we face a similar financial catastrophe like tourism and hospitality businesses as our sales and sources of investment capital dry up simultaneously.