A PAPER released by Engineers Australia has revealed that the demand for engineers across Australia increased by more than 30 per cent between the census years of 2006 and 2011.

“Australia’s engineering labour force (those employed directly in engineering work) increased by almost 60,000 engineers between 2006 and 2011,” said Stephen Durkin, Engineers Australia CEO.

“The resources boom has clearly gained momentum between the last two censuses with the emergence of major energy, oil and gas projects. Western Australia and the Northern Territory led the charge, with demand for engineers expanding by a staggering 53.5 percent and 37.5 per cent, respectively.

“While the resources sector was a key driver of the increased demand for engineers, the mining sector remains only the sixth largest employer of engineers. Employing about 13,500 engineers, the mining sector is dwarfed by the employment provided by the professional services sector (60,654 engineers), the manufacturing sector (41,114 engineers) and the construction sector (20,901 engineers).

“Australia produces around 9,500 new engineers every year, but this still isn’t enough to meet demand. Engineering skills shortages were evident across a range of locations and sectors across the country, and the shortfall has been filled by skilled migration. In 2006, overseas born engineers made up 48.4 percent of Australia’s engineering workforce and this increased to 53.9 percent in 2011.

“Unemployment in the Australian engineering workforce remained low between census years. In 2006 the unemployment rate stood at 3.0 percent and this increased slightly to 3.6 percent in 2011. In comparison to Australia’s national unemployment rate of about 5.6 percent, engineering unemployment was remarkably low.

“This latest paper confirms that engineers remain critical players in Australia’s ambitious nation building agenda. Engineers and engineering continue to make a huge contribution to our national economy, and these latest data draw attention to the scale of this ongoing contribution,” Mr Durkin said.

Access the full report: Changes in the Australian Engineering Labour Market