Just three years on from the Engineering Council’s relaunch in 1996, it is in need of a facelift. The reason? It is, by all accounts, heading back to the bad old ways of an admin-heavy organisation with its fingers in too many pies.
The failings of the pre-1996 model including empire building, duplication of work being done by professional institutions, and increasingly sour relations with those institutions are starting to resurface. Luckily, outgoing president Alan Rudge has had the good sense to instigate a thorough review.
This appears to have brought some much needed focus back into the council’s operations. The top priority will be to get industry and individual engineers to recognise the value of the register of engineers. Beyond that, and a lobbying role for the profession, it will be taking a long, hard look at the cost of everything else it does.
Not before time getting rid of centralised service departments and contracting out non-core activities is something most of its members have been experiencing in their own workplaces for the past decade.
Hike it or lump it
How much lower can engineering pay settlements get? Given the current inflation rate, it’s almost better to opt for a pay freeze as any pay rise below 2.5% is pretty derisory.
This looks set to lead to new trends in remuneration. If inflation is expected to remain stable, long-term settlements could become the norm. And as it is difficult to build any kind of performance-related pay rise differentials into a 2.5% average rise, it may be worth some companies doing away with the pay increase and opting to bring in a lump-sum bonus scheme instead.