The June edition of Transportation Professional contains the consultants’ directory. In the current economic climate I expected this to make for interesting reading. I was extremely suprised to read in the forward by the President of CIHT that
“There appears to be a healthy degree of optimism about the future.”
“The sector might possibly be leaner at the present time, but it is in good shape”.
I believe that the truth is rather darker than this. In particular I suspect that the transport planning profession will take some years to recover from the damage incurred in the last two years.In the public and private sectors there is little or no job security.
A wealth of experience has been lost as the baby boomers move into retirement. They generally have the benefit of decent pensions. However, who knows whether such pensions will be worth anything for those retiring in ten or twenty years time. And the retirement age just gets further away.
Planning and transport policy appears to be in a state of turmoil. In my view, there is no sign of any joined-up thinking at the moment. We can only hope for better in the next 12 months.
Funding for Masters Degrees has been cut. The reliance of the profession on bright youngsters from overseas has never been greater. Lets hope that they still want to come here when the recovery starts !
In fairness to CIHT, Margo Cole’s more considered article “Riding the rollercoaster” (in the same supplement) concludes
“Most firms had hoped that the uncertainty they were feeling this time last year would have abated by now, but those that are reliant on the public sector for a high proportion of their work are still trying to work out how the cuts are likely to impact on their workload and fee-levels. It is not suprising that firms in this position are feeling pessimistic about the year ahead. And, until the full impact of the spending cuts is evident, planning for the future is far from easy”.
I think that it is better to face up to these realities. My advice to young transport planners would be to look for opportunities overseas. Your skills are needed and valued elsewhere, and it might be more enjoyable to work in countries where you can really make a contribution.