A recent Engineers Australia report has found that engineering job vacancies are at a ten-year high, highlighting the ongoing skills shortage.
The Australian Engineering Employment Vacancies Report found that the number of engineering jobs advertised increased 50 per cent in Australia in 2021, despite limited growth in the later part of the year.
Queensland saw the biggest growth – up a whopping 67 per cent, followed by New South Wales and Victoria.
While all major states reported increased vacancies for 2021, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania recorded negative growth in the second half of the year – corresponding with restrictions in response to outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants.
The report found that civil engineers were most in demand, followed by industrial, mechanical and production engineers.
- Vacancy numbers remained high relative to the pre-pandemic period
- Australia: +50 per cent for the year (+4 July to December)
- Victoria: +44 per cent for the year (–6 per cent July to December)
- New South Wales: +54 per cent for the year (+3 per cent July to December)
- Queensland: +67 per cent for the year (+12 per cent July to December)
- Western Australia: +39 per cent for the year (+5 July to December)
- South Australia: +12 per cent for the year (-12 per cent July to December)
- Vacancies recorded in Tasmania, NT and ACT remain consistently low
Engineers Australia CEO, Dr Bronwyn Evans, said, “With an emerging engineering skills shortage exacerbated by COVID-19, an engineering job vacancy rate that continues to skyrocket, and an economic recovery hinging on major infrastructure projects, the effective use of all available engineers should be considered a national strategic imperative.
“While some sectors are experiencing a shortage of experienced engineers, it is in the face of an economy-wide oversupply of qualified – but underutilised – migrant engineers. This imbalance must be addressed by policy makers and employers.”
Ms Evans also said that Engineers Australia research shows there is a significant cohort of migrant engineers already in Australia who have long-term difficulties securing employment appropriate to their experience.
“The number one culprit here is unconscious employer bias. Tapping into this underutilised talent supply offers one means of easing skills shortages,” Ms Evans said.
“The issue is further exacerbated by the chronic challenges in the source of domestic supply and employers not investing enough in graduates.
“The long-term solution involves investment in young people and schools, industry-led development of early career graduates, and industry and government-wide understanding of the critical value of the migrant workforce.”