Engineering skills

Engineers Australia’s latest analysis of the Jobs and Skills Australia’s Internet Vacancy Index data reveals that Australia is still facing a shortage of engineering skills.

Engineers Australia CEO, Romilly Madew AO, said rising material costs and the collapse of two major players has left the $237 billion national five-year pipeline of infrastructure projects with fewer contractors who can deliver, contributing to blown-out budgets and increased project slippage.

“The construction sector is already overstretched and operating at capacity and the impact on engineering vacancies is noticeable,” Ms Madew said.

Infrastructure Australia forecasts that labour demand in 2023 will grow by 42,000 to a peak of 442,000, more than doubling the projected available supply. 

Ms Madew believes Australia needs to explore new and innovative ways to build its engineering capability, including how we support migrant engineers.

“Engineers Australia’s research has shown there is a significant cohort of migrant engineers already in Australia who have long-term difficulties securing employment appropriate to their experience. Tapping into this latent supply offers one means of easing skills shortages,” Ms Madew said.

Key findings from the Jobs and Skills Australia’s Internet Vacancy Index data

In 2022, there were two distinct phases across states and territories; growth in the first half of the year, and plateau or decline in the second. Nationally, engineering vacancies increased overall by 22 per cent, peaking in July and stagnant by December.

State and territory trends were similar, with all major states reporting increased vacancies for the year, despite declines in the September and December quarters.

Queensland showed the highest growth among the major states in 2022 with a 44 per cent increase. 

New South Wales had the greatest number of engineering vacancies, followed by Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. ACT performed best out of the territories. 

Engineering vacancies have grown by 80 per cent nationally over the past two years, compared to 42 per cent for all averaged Australian occupation vacancies.

The engineering profession remains resilient amid global economic uncertainty, supported by considerable fiscal stimulus – mainly in transport infrastructure, renewable energies, and defence. 

The profession continues to experience a shortage of critical engineering skills throughout Australia due to increased projects requiring engineering skills.

Engineers have remained in the spotlight with several major stimulus projects from the Commonwealth Government relying on the profession’s skills and expertise. However, the engineering skills shortage shows no end in sight, with demand continuing to outstrip supply.

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