Engineers with suitable skills throughout Australia will be in high demand throughout 2018 to fill a mismatch between the abilities which are needed and the skills which are currently on offer, a new report says.

Unveiling its Skills report for the first half of 2018, recruitment firm Hays says it expects continued demand for qualified workers to flow into the early part of 2018.

“Australia’s engineering industry is very active with continued staffing demand and vacancy activity – although levels of activity do vary based on location,” the report states.

“The first half of 2018 will continue to see a talent mismatch between the skills jobseekers possess and those employers want.”

According to Hays, in the first half of 2018:

  • Structural engineers with at least seven or eight years of experience will be in high demand to fill a gap within the middle to senior level of the market across multiple locations. This is particularly the case with South Australia, where many graduates either changed careers or moved interstate a few years ago and are proving difficult to attract back courtesy of higher salaries on offer in other states.
  • Civil drafters with several years of experience preferably with well-recognised consultancies are in demand, especially as significant dollar value projects add to skills shortages in this area.
  • Intermediate civil engineers will be needed for urban developments and subdivisions. Although there has been an influx of graduates in this area, many employers lack the time to train these people up and have become top heavy as they have been recruiting senior partners, leaving a gap in the middle.
  • Civil design engineers will be needed for permanent and temporary roles to cater for growth in the residential land development and subdivision markets across multiple locations as well as major road and infrastructure projects.
  • 12D designers for land development and subdivision projects are in demand. Whilst many universities are teaching students Autodesk Civil3D, 12D remains standard in the private sector and there is thus a shortage of candidates using it. Employers want people with relevant experience to work on a high number of subdivision projects which are passing approval.
  • Revit drafters will be needed for temporary assignments, many of which will be in remote access roles and will require candidates who have experience in using updated versions.
  • Electrical Engineers will see growing demand for their skills from mining, manufacturing and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This is particularly the case in New South Wales due to the resurgence in the state’s mining sector in that state.
  • Traffic modellers are needed for work on infrastructure upgrades. Given that skills across the multiple systems (VISSIM, VISUM etc.) are not necessarily transferable, Hays says employers are likely to want candidates with specific experience in the relevant package rather than someone who they would be required to teach.
  • Traffic engineers with an understanding of Australian traffic standards and experience in undertaking safety audits, traffic management and public transport planning will be needed as a growing project flow means that demand for suitability qualified candidates will outstrip supply.
  • Transport planners will also be needed for infrastructure upgrades and transport projects.
  • Water engineers are in shortage and will be sought in response to both private and public sector work.
  • Fire design engineers are expected to see demand for their skills. Fire Engineers who specialise in installation are in short supply and there is no specific fire engineering degree in Australia.
  • Hydraulic drafters will also be sought as many drafters opt to specialise in electrical or mechanical over hydraulic.

In general, Hays says there will be demand for professionals with knowledge of 12D software. Given that this is not taught as part of university curriculums, candidates need to gain experience with the program independently if they are to remain competitive.

As a result, Hays says there is a ‘massive shortage’ of candidates with skills in this area.

“We recommend that anyone who wants to focus on civil engineering, water engineering or land development to gain expertise in this package,” Hays says.