Civil Engineering Opportunities in Australia

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The construction boom in Australia is in full swing. Below is a summary of civil engineering vacancy trends in 2017.

NEW SOUTH WALES

  • Employers in Sydney experienced a shortage of civil engineering professionals with a low proportion of surveyed vacancies having been filled.
  • Around 60 per cent of surveyed vacancies were filled
  • Shortages in Sydney were across all civil engineering professions.
  • The level of experience sought varied between surveyed employers, with some advertising graduate positions while others, for example, required suitable applicants to have a minimum of 10 years practical experience 
  • A small number of metropolitan employers indicated they had advertised overseas in order to attract Australian expatriate engineers back to Australia.
  • Around 90 per cent of qualified applicants were considered to be unsuitable
  • There were around 250 primary applicant 457 temporary skilled migration visas granted for civil engineering professionals in 2016-17 (compared to an average of 125 per annum over the three years to 2015-16)

QUEENSLAND

  • The most recent research shows recruitment difficulties were evident for structural engineers and for some senior positions requiring 10 years or more experience, including experience in specific industry sectors.
  • On average, there were 19.2 applicants per vacancy this year compared with 36.7 applicants per vacancy in 2016.
  • Some employers commented that the level of property and infrastructure activity in New South Wales was affording more opportunity for experienced engineers and contributing to the reduced the numbers of local applicants.
  • Despite the large number of applicants, on average there was only one suitable applicant per vacancy in both metropolitan and regional areas.
  • A number of positions for senior engineers were unfilled. The majority of these positions required applicants to hold Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) endorsements and have at least 10 years’ experience in specific areas such as transport industry structures or residential developments
  • Figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection shows that temporary skilled migration is currently a minor source of supply to this profession. While more than 200 class 457 visas were granted for civil engineers to work in Queensland in 2012-13, only 26 have been granted in the nine months to 31 March 2017

VICTORIA

  • Some employers encountered difficulty recruiting experienced civil engineering professionals for specialised projects or specific industry settings.
  • Seventy four per cent of vacancies were for civil engineers, with 71 per cent of these vacancies filled. Employers who were surveyed for structural, geotechnical and transport engineering vacancies reported a lower fill rate of 40 per cent.
  • All vacancies required applicants to hold a civil engineering related bachelor degree
  • Employers noted that while technical skills and project management skills were essential, soft skills such as high level communication and interpersonal skills were equally important given the strong focus on stakeholder engagement with clients, contractors and government to deliver projects
  • Some surveyed employers in the roads, highways and subdivisions sector reported that the growing demand (a result of these large infrastructure projects) has resulted in a decrease of available talent.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • 83 per cent of vacancies were filled
  • Employers noted that vacancies in the mining and resources sector were easier to fill than vacancies in road and rail construction
  • 79 per cent of qualified applicants were unsuitable.
  • Recruiting for senior and more specialist positions was very challenging

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

  • Employers have difficulty filling positions for experienced geotechnical engineers and other positions requiring experience with ACT construction regulations and stakeholders.
  • All employers sought applicants with at least a bachelor degree in a civil engineering discipline
  • While a small number of vacancies for recent graduates were surveyed, most were for experienced civil engineering professionals, with the experience level sought ranging from two to 10 years
  • Lack of experience was the main reason applicants were considered to be unsuitable.
  • Employers commonly sought applicants with experience in a particular discipline (such as geotechnical or transport engineering), a particular project type (such as rail infrastructure) or a particular job role (such as design engineering or project engineering).

 All data comes from the Department of Jobs and Small Business, 2017.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2017

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