Beta, ab Engineers ka koi scope nai.
Sounds familiar? Then you are probably an engineer.. There was a time when parents considered engineering and medicine to be the only two ‘proper’ career paths, and for good reason too; the need for two can never die. Today, sadly, while the same perception persists somewhat, engineering is not the same as it once was in our country, and there are several things you can point your finger at to see why that is.
Engineers’ dukhi dastaan
- Job-less ness: With private universities having established an assembly line of graduates, our market faces a clutter of young and hungry engineers ready to work, but unfortunately, have trouble finding jobs. An unstable political landscape, lack of foreign investment and below-par graduates have led to 50,000 engineers roaming around without a job.
- Lower wages/salaries: When an engineer graduates, the PEC issues a licensing number, authorizing him to practice the profession. When companies, who are bound to hire a certain number of PEC number holders in their team, illegally ask an engineer to sell the number for a market average of Rs. 150,000, most of them comply, and the engineer sits at home, pocketing a mere Rs. 12,000 a month.
- Engineering no longer considered a noble profession: A survey was done to determine the number of engineers who were occupying 21st and 22nd grade positions in the bureaucracy of the country. It was discovered that there was only one engineer at the 21st grade bracket, and none in the 22nd. Point to take: there are no engineers involved in the policy making of the country!
But wait, there might be hope for you: we now have the recently elected Pakistan Engineering Council(PEC), the governing, statutory body of the profession who are riding the wave of Naya Pakistan.
The chairman for the previous term, Javed Salim Qureshi, a prominent and successful veteran of the industry, was re-elected to the office at the general elections for PEC in August 2018. The reported turnout of a mere twenty-five percent engineers for these elections just goes to show how disgruntled the engineers in Pakistan are, and the PEC has a lot of work to do in its incumbent term.
Here’s what we think they should do:
- Maintain a supply-demand balance: Production of engineers has to be curtailed in order to maintain a supply-demand balance, which will not only support the engineering sector, but will also encourage students to take up other professions. The harder it becomes to become an engineer, the more competent will be the graduating product, which is certainly not the case at the moment.
- Uplifting the status of engineers: This can be done by setting a minimum wage slab for hiring an engineer, but this has to be complimented by enhancing the capabilities of graduating engineers. It is only when Pakistani engineers refuse to sell their PEC number, and recognize their worth that their salary slab and standing as career choice will also improve.
- Engage engineers in more fulfilling projects: The Washington Accord was a huge step forward for Pakistani engineers, but their skills will only be polished once development is undertaken and projects are begun, for which the economy and political conditions of the country have to stabilize.
While there is a ton of work to be done before engineering can once again claim to be the profession of yesteryear, the PEC and the engineers of Pakistan need to work together to improve the present, and more importantly, the future of the profession. Don’t you want Bhasha Dam to be built?
What other issues do you think PEC needs to address and what are your suggestions for them? Let us know in the comments.
*Information source: Interview of Javed Salim Qureshi “Q&A with PJ Mir” on Din News