According to the Department of Employment, the State of NSW, Victoria’s metropolitan areas, and Brisbane are all facing skills shortages in the surveying sector. NSW has been facing a shortage since 2011, with fewer than half of vacancies being filled in the four months leading up to August 2017.
The shortage is largely blamed on the volume of new construction works being undertaken in Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan areas. While land and construction surveyors are in high demand, not everyone can get a job. In Victoria the majority of applicants knocked back for jobs were displaced mining industry surveyors, which employers did not find suitable for cadastral tasks. In WA, where there is no skills shortage, employers were knocking back candidates with only cadastral experience and no mining background.
Across the board, employers are often forced to hire candidates with less experience than desired due to these shortages just to fill the role. A January 2015 BIS Shrapnel report for Consulting Surveyors National estimated that 25% of all surveyors in the work force in 2014 will have left the industry by 2024 (presumably due to retirement), with an estimated 1000 new surveyors needed to join the workforce within the state by 2020 to stem the shortfall.
With the number of registered surveyors in decline, industry and government are both offering financial incentives to study surveying. Veris via the University of New South Wales (applications due 30/9/17) and Geomatic Technologies via RMIT (applications due 19/11/17) are both addressing the gender imbalance in the industry with scholarships exclusively for women.
To read our story on the Veris scholarship for women in engineering, click here.
The NSW Surveyor General has also decided to continue their International Fellowship Program. The Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for surveying and spatial professionals to develop their career and pitch innovative ideas to a panel.
With one Fellowship offered per year, the successful candidate will receive a one-off grant of $15,000 to put towards international professional development and research opportunities at their own discretion.
NSW Surveyor General, Mrs Narelle Underwood said Spatial Services is heavily reliant on surveying and spatial skills, and encourages people to put their ideas forward and get involved.
“Previous recipients have provided innovative contributions to Spatial Services and the wider surveying profession. Some examples include the impact of natural disasters on cadastral (land) boundaries, and how positioning technologies can assist rural and developing areas,” said Mrs Underwood.
“We encourage surveying graduates and related disciplines to submit their proposals and become an innovator within their field. It’s also a great opportunity for surveying and spatial professionals to expand their network and further their education.”
Applicants are required to submit a written application outlining their proposed research and potential outcomes. Applications will be judged by merit of the proposal and merit of the applicant.
The closing date for applications is Friday 1 December 2017. Applicants are encouraged to visit the Spatial Services website for further information.