Engineering graduates still well short of meeting demand
The release of a report today by Engineers Australia has confirmed that the numbers of new graduates moving into Australia’s engineering team has grown much slower than the demand, and that the growth in the number of new professional engineers in the last two years has now only returned to the numbers in 2004.
In releasing The Engineering Profession – A statistical overview 2011, at the start of Australian Engineering Week, the Acting Chief Executive of Engineers Australia, Rupert Grayston, said, “The domestic supply of new engineering graduates has not been able to keep pace with increases in the demand for engineers for many years.
“For well over a decade the number of domestic engineering graduates flat-lined at around 5000 a year and it is only recently that we have seen a modest increase to about 6000 per year.
“Currently there is a high reliance on migrant engineers to try to keep up with demand but as other economies develop, their demand for engineers will increase and Australia may find itself competing for and not securing the engineering skills that are currently more freely available from overseas.
“The statistical report shows that in 2010, over 52 percent of the Australian engineering labour force was born overseas compared to 36 per cent for comparable non-engineering skills and 27 per cent in the overall labour force.
“All indicators show that the engineering sector will continue to experience growth, particularly in engineering construction associated with major public infrastructure projects and in the resources industries.
“It remains of great concern that there is no real end in sight to delivering an adequate engineering skills base across Australia to match demands for maintenance of existing infrastructure, increasing population and economic expansion.
“Part of the longer-term solution is to focus in the primary and secondary classrooms where students need to be both drawn to an engineering career, and supported with the skills sets of maths and science subjects, to dramatically increase our domestic engineering numbers.
“Also, there is a need to encourage a far greater participation by females into the profession where only about 10 percent are female,” Rupert Grayston said.
The full report is available at http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/engineeringprofession/.
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Engineers Australia is the common name of the Institution of Engineers, Australia with a membership 93,000.