Demand slowed in second half of 2021, but engineer shortage at ten-year high

Engineers Australia has reported that job vacancies were up 50 per cent overall for 2021 compared to the year before, with demand for engineers at a ten-year high.

The organisation’s Australian Engineering Employment Vacancies report, released on Wednesday and available at this link, found job vacancies increased the most over 2021 in Queensland (67 per cent), followed by NSW and Victoria.

Nationally, the increase in vacancies was slight (up 4 per cent) in the year’s second half and went backwards in Victoria (minus 6 per cent), South Australia (minus 12 per cent) and Tasmania (15 per cent.) This corresponded with the outbreaks in and responses to the Covid-19 delta and omicron variants.

The most in-demand engineering disciplines in 2021 were civil engineers, followed by Industrial, mechanical and production engineers, then ICT support and test engineers.

EA’s CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said that the effective use of all available engineers should be a national strategic imperative, given a skills shortage worsened by the pandemic and the importance of delivering major infrastructure projects as the economy recovers.

Evans said that there was an economy-wide “oversupply of qualified—but underutilised—migrant engineers” which should be addressed by policy-makers and employers, and that “tapping into this underutilised talent supply offers one means of easing skills shortages.

The longer-term solution to shortages would require “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.”


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