The softening of the Australian economy over the course of 2019 and the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on all sectors of the labour force last year and, regrettably, the engineering sector did not emerge unscathed.

COVID-19 impacts Australian engineering jobs
According to Engineers Australia’s latest quarterly report, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt across the nation as all states and territories experienced contractions in engineering job vacancies in the first quarter of 2020.

A 12-month analysis ending on 31 March 2020 indicated that both Queensland and Western Australia recorded less than 10,000 engineering job vacancies. This is the first time in years that these states have dipped below this mark.

That said, the overall impact of restrictions on engineering recruitment is notably lower than on other sectors of the economy with five of the seven core engineering industries (two-thirds of the profession) showing no or minimal impact.

Better prospects for engineers employed within the sector
Engineers employed in core engineering sectors will likely only experience marginal effects whereas those employed in other industries will experience the greatest impact. An Engineers Australia analysis (Kaspura, Andre, Preliminary estimates of impact of restriction on engineering 21 April 2020) revealed that direct impacts of the pandemic will likely reduce the employment of qualified engineers in any role by 10.2% whereas hiring of engineers in engineering sector jobs is expected to decline by only 6.45%.

Highest vacancies available in NSW
The highest number of engineering vacancies in Australia is reported to be in NSW, although Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia also report higher numbers of engineering vacancies than those recorded in the smaller states.

Civil engineering offers the best prospects
It comes as no surprise that civil engineering jobs dominate the Australian engineering job market as the nation turns to infrastructure to stimulate the economy and put it back on the road to recovery post COVID.

Experts anticipate ‘work done’ volumes to exceed their 2020 levels as the industry races to get back on its feet and fast-tracks projects to make up for time lost during COVID. This means more vacancies for civil engineers, geotechnical engineers, quantity surveyors, structural engineers and transport engineers.

Related growth areas
According to the Australian Government jobs hub certain areas of the economy are in fact experiencing an increased demand for employees. They include jobs in healthcare, transport and logistics, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors.

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