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Confidence is back in the civil engineering career market

Confidence is back in the civil engineering career market

almost 3 years ago By Alex Scott
Careers Market Snapshots

According to the Australian Government JobOutlook site, the number of people working as Civil Engineering Professionals has grown very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years: from 53,300 in 2018 to 60,500 by 2023.

There are likely to be around 28,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 5,600 a year).  Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).


Public vs. private... who's hiring?


3 months ago, as the private sector slowed, the public sector was hiring quite heavily where we observed numbers of private sector engineers moving to the public sector.  

A key motivator for engineers making the switch to the public sector was to get out of major commercial projects which operate to quite strict timelines, compared to councils where there is less commercial emphasis on time frames for work completion This talent flow between private and public is now levelling out.

Civil Engineering clients are asking for Engineers with experience of 12D and DRAINS and MUSIC software around the CBD, North Shore and Sydney’s Northwest which were previously in a holding pattern pre-election.

Engineering consultancies are building their teams around civil infrastructure design for transport, subdivisions and utilities engineering projects. Many companies are experiencing a gap of engineers with 8-12 years of experience who can manage projects, lead small teams and still be technically hands-on pushing design.


Civil Engineering market key stats…


  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
  • Industries: Most work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Construction; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,962 per week (higher than the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (90%, much higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 46 hours per week at work (compared to an average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 36 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 12% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

We're recruiting high value roles again...

Such as an Urban Development Leader. Our client is looking for a Director level Engineer to be the face of the business in the urban sector. The successful Engineer will look after the team, the budget, oversee the technical output and be the external face of the business.  


What’s around the corner?

The forecast for the next 6 months is the residential development side of civil engineering will pick up. Many of our clients in the small to mid-tier in civil engineering space expect to grow their teams in the back end of the year as a precursor to more development work forthcoming.

Transport will still be the main push across engineering projects with existing projects WestConnex and Sydney Metro still providing many opportunities. WestConnex Stage 3 still underway and Sydney Metro creating lots of Over Station Development opportunities, there’s a buzz around that market again.


Talent flows


We have seen an increase of candidates moving from larger companies to smaller teams, with less emphasis on salary and chasing projects.  The drive to move to smaller companies or be part of a smaller team within a large company is to seek stability post the construction boom of recent years.  Smaller teams also mean more hands-on involvement in projects and tangible value.


We're out of the uncertainty of the election period and the overall outlook is positive, while not at the same levels of the construction boom the engineering market provides stability and increased career opportunities.



Contact Alex for:

Engineering and project management consultancy roles across major development and infrastructure projects.