Engineers are the people who convert ‘brilliant ideas’ into tangible goods, services and processes. They are indispensable contributors to Australian life and prosperity. Gathering high quality statistics about engineers and engineering is imperative to informing accurate labour market policy decisions. It also helps us measure whether there are enough engineers coming into the profession to maintain our present and future engineering capability.
Engineers Australia collects this data to aid in our policy and advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession and to inform the government and community. We source data about the engineering profession from various avenues including census data which is available every five years.
The latest edition of The engineering profession: a statistical overview examines findings from the 2021 census and the latest education and migration data.
Explore some of the key takeaways below or investigate the data yourself with our interactive dashboard, which includes statistics on the labour force, industry distribution, location and demographics.
There is currently a skills shortage of experienced engineers in Australia, with employment vacancies at a decade high. Driving demand for engineers is ongoing investment in public infrastructure, a re-emergence of demand for minerals and a global transition to clean energy and adapting to climate change.
While experienced migrant engineers are critical to the workforce in the short-term, having a strong source of domestically trained engineers is crucial. Only 8.5 per cent of graduates in Australia graduate with an engineering qualification – the sixth lowest proportion in OECD countries.
The long-term solution involves investment in young people and schools, increasing the numbers of engineering graduates, industry-led development of early career graduates, growing and retaining women and First Nations people, and community-wide understanding of the value of skilled migrants.
Importance of STEM
This puts the focus strongly on the importance of fostering science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills (STEM) in young people.
The statistics show that engineering graduates experience strong employment outcomes – around 87 per cent of engineering graduates were in full time employment in 2021 and 2022. Engineering graduates are also in the top five highest graduate salaries with a median salary of $71,500.
Employer satisfaction with engineering graduates is high. 2021 data shows employers had the highest overall satisfaction rate with engineering and related graduates at 90 per cent.
With graduates rating their experience lower than other fields, efforts need to be concentrated on improving course satisfaction and student retention coupled with attracting more enrolments. A greater supply of graduates is crucial for increasing the capacity of Australia’s engineering workforce.
Engineers Australia is committed to promoting STEM skills to school age children and teens and our STEM strategy outlines the ways we’re doing this.
Visit our policy and advocacy page to learn more about how statistics help inform our work.
Australia's next generation of engineers: university statistics for engineering
This report presents Australian higher education statistics for engineering to 2018, focusing on the contribution of engineering education to increasing the national supply of engineers. It also provides detailed statistics for each state and territory and a discussion about the distribution of course commencements and completions between them.
Australia’s engineering capability: how the last ten years will influence the future
This report analyses and presents statistics describing the characteristics and size of Australia’s engineering profession over the period 2006 to 2016. It is the first report covering the three population censuses over the boom and bust cycle during these years.
Engineers and industry: a decade of change
This report examines the size, growth and character of engineering industry employment in Australia to improve the understanding of the dynamics of the engineering profession. The number of engineers working in different industries has changed over the decade 2006 to 2016 as the economy has continued a slow transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy.
Engineers make things happen: the need for an engineering pipeline strategy
Engineers Australian examines the need for an engineering pipeline strategy.
Survey of working environment and engineering careers
A report on a survey of Engineers Australia members undertaken in 2012.