Engineering jobs are faring better than the overall trend of a slowing employment market, and better times could be on the horizon.
The most recent Australian Engineering Vacancies Report examines trends in online job vacancies based on figures published by the Federal Government using data from SEEK, CareerOne and JobSearch.
Advertised job numbers dropped across the board over the 12 months to June 2019, but engineering vacancies dropped by a smaller percentage than job vacancies overall. The average decline was 6.3 per cent, compared to 5.1 per cent for the engineering sector. But between March and June, engineering vacancies took a downward turn, dropping 4.6 per cent compared to 2.9 per cent for the overall job market.
For STEM professions there was better news, with the latest SEEK Employment Trends report stating that science and technology job ads on their platform grew by 19.2 per cent in the last financial year, in spite of a national decline of 7.7 per cent in overall vacancies advertised.
While the number of jobs advertised fell in the last financial year, salaries were on the rise. SEEK said that average salaries across the national employment market are up by 2.7 per cent, with engineering managers taking out the number one spot in their list of top salaries, with an average advertised pay packet of $177,600.
Construction continues to drive employment
Across the country, more than 4000 engineering jobs were advertised in June 2019, with construction and infrastructure projects in NSW and Victoria providing the most vacancies. For both NSW and Victoria, civil engineers are the most sought after specialisation.
Previous Engineers Australia analysis suggests that as infrastructure projects reach their final stages, job numbers drop as engineering components reach completion, and a steady pipeline of projects is needed to maintain employment for engineers.
Over the past financial year, NSW recorded an 8.5 per cent decrease in job ads, and Victoria a 3.2 per cent reduction. Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory also saw a decline in engineering jobs advertised over the last financial year.
Advertised engineering positions in Western Australia grew by 8.7 per cent, driven largely by demand for mining engineers, with civil engineers not far behind. However, in the last three months leading up to June, growth in engineering vacancies reached a plateau.
Tasmania also saw an increase in the number of engineering roles advertised over the last financial year with an 11 per cent rise, but the total number of jobs was much smaller than in the larger states.
Better times ahead?
NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland have committed to very healthy infrastructure spending in the 2019-20 financial year. As new projects begin and teams ramp up, the engineering job market is likely to benefit.
Job vacancy figures at the end of this quarter could also show a change in the fortunes of the overall market. Managing Director of SEEK Australia and NZ, Kendra Banks, said in July that the first few months of a new financial year are often the busiest for recruitment.
“It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few months, where I believe we will get a clearer picture of the current employment market,” she said.