Engineers built the world we live in today. Looking around at our infrastructure, it is hard to imagine a day where we will not need them anymore. The job market should, therefore, be reassuring to aspire students and working professionals, right?
While there may never be a situation where engineers are not in demand. However, there may be ups and downs in the vacancies available for them. One needs to understand that a country’s engineering requirements are subject to changes; they can be affected by the nation’s projects, goals, infrastructure, university completion rates, economic irregularities (like the Great Financial Crisis, the Resources Boom), etc, that can affect the requirement for engineers in each state.
Such factors also dictate which occupation of engineers (Civil, Electrical, etc.) are higher in demand. Studying the trends in a country along with its job vacancies help give a good picture of the job market for an engineer in Australia.
A good way to understand where the industry may go is to see how it progressed before.
Long Term Trends
The vacancy graph below shows us how the job market is impacted by the needs of the industry and the direction it chooses to evolve in.
After being affected by the GFC and then performing rapidly through the Resources Boom, the present engineering job market seems to suffer fewer fluctuations. The slow yet gradual vacancy increase since 2015 only seems to have slowed now, in 2018. This means the vacancies are being filled, i.e., the growing industry demands are finally starting to be met.
It is all about the direction the industry takes, and the kind of jobs that gain popularity hence. For example, after relatively slow adoption rates, software and computer science engineering will finally start seeing a hike in demand as the popularity for Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) go up. Similarly, huge markets can erupt for project-based vacancies in different states. You can check how that works under ‘Short Term Trends’.
Short Term Trends
Online pages are filled with domestic engineers insisting on the potency of an engineering degree in Australia. Here is one of the live pages that show Australia’s infrastructure priority for nationally significant investments.
In 2017, Australia saw the focus on the Sydney Metro, and the rapid diversification of infrastructure to counter the slowdown in high-rise residential apartment buildings. Australia is still big in its transport industry, which only means a continued demand for civil engineering jobs.
Furthermore, it was predicted then that while the metro work would come to completion around now, mining tasks would see a boom. And so, they did. Mining today is becoming an engineer hotspot. In fact, a study even found that twelve mining jobs today were commanding higher salaries than at the peak of the resources boom. This includes roles like Senior Mine Engineers, Senior Geologists, and Maintenance Superintendents (with the latter’s median total remuneration exceeding $200,000 per annum).
Vacancies are a key indicator of unmet demand for labour in the economy. Coupled with university statistics, these can give you a good idea about the growth of the job market.
Job vacancies can provide valuable insights to the state of the job market as they are a key indicator of unmet demand for labour in the economy.
Distribution by State
Queensland saw 8.7% vacancies being filled.
New South Wales saw 6.5% of vacancies being filled.
South Australia had the most progress with 10.4% vacancies being filled in 2018.
Western Australia saw vacancies grow at a whopping 19.5% in 2018.
Victoria saw vacancies grow from 0.5% in the first half to staggering 4.6% in the second half of 2018.
Tasmania saw vacancies rise by 5.4%. The Northern Territory, though small, saw a 22.2% progress with vacancies being filled. Similarly, The Australian Capital Territory too saw 4.8% of its requirements being met.
Australia’s Next Generation of Engineers study has given interesting insights into university statistics between overseas and domestic students.
The overall domestic population has been contracting now for two years, while, the population of engineering students attending Australian universities has witnessed rapid growth.
The overseas student market for both men and women has boomed. Entry-level courses are seeing substantial growth while commencements of post-graduate courses are seeing double-digit growth.
Growth in university completion rates by overseas students implies an increase in successful onshore applications. It is also helping in filling up the vacancies in the Engineering Labour Market.
The job market appears exciting for engineers who are willing to settle down in Australia. Their infrastructure needs for transport, renewable energy and mining industries don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. Furthermore, with the growing share of post-graduate completions belonging to overseas students, it looks like the engineering market is all set to offer the best jobs.