The $ 500bn plan where the maths don’t add up

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

AN es­ti­mated $ 500 bil­lion in in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment across the na­tion over the next decade and 13.5 per cent em­ploy­ment growth on the back of the re­sources jug­ger­naut are enough rea­sons to con­sider a grad­u­ate ca­reer in en­gi­neer­ing.

That’s the mes­sage from Hob­son’s GradCa­reers, one of the na­tion’s lead­ing re­cruiters.

Amid pos­i­tive fore­casts of growth and rev­enue rises, and in­creas­ing grad­u­ate salaries, the only down­side for in­dus­try is that there sim­ply may not be enough en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ates to go around, a spokesman says.

In­dus­try ex­perts es­ti­mate Aus­tralia’s min­er­als in­dus­try will need an ex­tra 70,000 work­ers over the next decade, which rep­re­sents a stag­ger­ing 76 per cent in­crease in em­ploy­ment,’’ he adds.

And even though most of this de­mand for work­ers is in trades and semi- skilled po­si­tions, it’s es­ti­mated that over the next decade Aus­tralia’s re­sources sec­tor will need more than 7600 ad­di­tional pro­fes­sion­als.

In­cluded in this group of de­sired pro­fes­sion­als will be min­ing, met­al­lur­gi­cal, min­er­als, re­sources, and con­struc­tion en­gi­neers, among oth­ers.

Em­ploy­ment rates are strong across the many en­gi­neer­ing dis­ci­plines, but are par­tic­u­larly pos­i­tive for grad­u­ates of civil/ struc­tural ( 93.8 per cent), elec­tri­cal ( 92.3 per cent), and me­chan­i­cal ( 85.1 per cent) en­gi­neer­ing, ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by APESMA.

In par­tic­u­lar, acute short­ages of chem­i­cal, civil, elec­tri­cal, me­chan­i­cal, min­ing, and pe­tro­leum en­gi­neers have re­sulted in their in­clu­sion on the De­part­ment of Im­mi­gra­tion and Cit­i­zen­ships Mi­gra­tion Oc­cu­pa­tions in De­mand List,’’ the spokesman says.

So in­tense is the prob­lem that top in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als pre­dict a short­age of up to 20,000 en­gi­neers within six years.

Among other rea­sons, a short­age of qual­i­fied maths and science teach­ers in high schools has been blamed for the ap­par­ent in­creas­ing lev­els of stu­dent dis­in­ter­est in th­ese dis­ci­plines.

‘‘ This, in turn, trans­lates into a level of up­take of en­gi­neer­ing cour­ses that is fail­ing to sat­isfy the growth in the en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly in spe­cific dis­ci­plines,’’ the spokesman says.

In fu­ture years, pos­i­tive grad­u­ate out­comes, strong em­ploy­ment and com­pet­i­tive salaries may help to en­cour­age re­newed en­thu­si­asm.’’

Salaries for en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ates have been in­creas­ing steadily in re­cent years.

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