Infrastructure boom sees civil engineers in high demand on East coast

First Australia had the mining boom, then the housing boom, and now the country is set to see its biggest ever infrastructure boom, with state governments collectively committing tens of billions of dollars on transport infrastructure.

In mid-years budgets road and rail projects were a particular focus for government spending. Queensland’s government dedicated $23 billion for road and rail alone, while NSW committed to spending $55.6 billion on road and rail over the next four years.

Much of this spending will be channelled into projects along the nation’s East coast, helping to service the likes of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, Cross River Rail and Inland Rail projects.

However, while this spells good news for the industry, the boom in infrastructure has resulted in a skills shortage, seeing many projects unable to hire enough civil engineers to keep up with demand.

Skilled civil engineers needed

According to the University of NSW, Australia’s demand for engineers far exceeds its supply of graduates, particularly those working within civil engineering. Such professionals are in demand all across urban and rural Australia, however the demand is by far the greatest on the East Coast after the promise of new funding for road and rail projects.

Both civil and mechanical engineering are now officially listed as areas with a shortage of qualified workers, with Engineers Australia figures showing the number of students applying to study engineering has steadily fallen since a sector peak in 2013, as has the number of offers made by universities.

Furthermore, according to chief executive of the Australian Industry Group (AiGroup), Innes Willox, it is the skills shortage coupled with the growth in infrastructure projects that is making the industry feel the squeeze.

“We have an infrastructure boom, but we’re having trouble servicing that boom and keeping it going, particularly with people,” he told the ABC.

Huge job opportunities

While this skills shortage is indeed putting many East coast projects under strain, it spells good news for job seekers. Those looking for new job opportunities in the area of civil engineering will discover a wealth of opportunity, with many positions offering generous incentives to entice skilled professionals.

Many organisations are seeking those with the skills and experience to work on projects such as Westconnex, the Sydney Metro City and Southwest, and the Inland Rail project, with the latter alone expected to create up to 16,000 jobs during construction and 700 ongoing roles once operational.

If you’d like to know what opportunities are available to you as an engineer, get in touch with us at Bayside Personnel.