Engineering a 10-year high

Engineering firms are struggling to fill positions when they’re needed the most – at a time when the sector is enjoying the highest activity in a decade.

The construction industry is celebrating its ninth strong month in a row, after ending October on a high note.
This largely boils down to the engineering sector, which delivered its best performance in a decade.
At least 20 major projects are currently being built or planned across Australia, including Brisbane’s Cross River Rail. Dozens of other port, road, housing, prison, school, water and hospital projects are adding to a pipeline that’s worth over $100 billion.
Such activity has contributed to a four-point jump in engineering activity, pushing the index reading to 60.9, which is the highest it’s been in ten years.
The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association’s performance index placed overall construction activity levels at 53.2 points. Although this is the lowest it’s been since April, any reading above 50 indicates growth.
Engineering jobs are also on the rise, jumping 32 per cent since last year.
There are certainly more opportunities for engineers, but on the flip side, there are many gaps that employers are unable to fill.
The recent surge in public sector infrastructure projects has swelled the demand for skilled engineers – leading to a shortage across Australia for certain roles.
Recruitment company Hays says employers in Queensland are on the hunt for 12D designers and civil engineers with road experience, to work on a number of major projects that are stimulating activity. These include the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf development, the Cross-River Rail Project and upgrades to the Kingsford Smith Drive road.
The Sunshine State is also in short supply of traffic engineers with experience in congestion and integrated transport planning.
The latest Hays report puts the skills shortage down to two factors: the active sector and a lack of suitable talent for highly-skilled and specialised occupations.
The report says “there is a talent mismatch between the skills jobseekers possess and those employers want, which is creating staffing challenges in many states.”