COVID-19 introduced sudden and significant economic and professional changes to the engineering and geoscience professions through impacts to individual registrants, their organizations, industries, and personal lives. Engineers and Geoscientists BC surveyed registrants to understand the current practice challenges and key issues facing the professions.
Over 2,800 registrants completed this survey between May 8 and June 6, sharing their perspectives on the impact COVID-19 has had on their professional practice, their organizations, and their industries.
Like many other sectors, engineering and geoscience professions in BC have seen a significant shift in ways of working, according to survey results. Over 46% of respondents reported a full shift to remote working, which created challenges for in-person activities like field reviews and site inspections.
To help overcome the challenges faced as a result of social distancing practices, many organizations implemented new work-from-home policies and increased the use of online collaboration tools, such as video conferencing, cloud software, and increased their use of virtual reality and artificial intelligence software.
While the results highlighted the innovative and collaborative nature of the engineering and geoscience professions, the survey results also reflected underlying uncertainty among registrants. Survey respondents’ biggest concerns for their business or industry related to a potential global recession, difficulty with project and/or research funding, and organizational stability.
The survey also sought feedback from senior decision-makers (i.e., registrants who identified themselves as owners, partners, or executives of their organizations) on broader organizational impacts.
In terms of business continuity, respondents in this category said the most widespread organizational challenges were cancellation or postponement of contracts, projects being put on hold due to economic uncertainty, and regulatory delays due to government focus on COVID-19 related matters.
Many organizations are also facing significant financial disruption, with 41% of these senior decision-makers anticipating at least a 25% loss of revenue. This anticipated financial impact was most pronounced in the mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries.
The insights obtained from this survey will help inform how Engineers and Geoscientists BC can better support registrants with practice advice and guidance, to help registrants continue to meet their professional obligations in a changing work environment.
For further information, including practice advice as well as understanding your professional obligations at this time, visit egbc.ca/COVID-19.
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