Strengthening the engineering workforce in Australia: solutions to address the skills shortage in the short, medium, and long term

Skilled workforce STEM education Engineering Australia

The National Skills Commission predicts STEM occupations will increase by 12.9 per cent over the next five years. At the same time, Australia’s production of domestically trained engineers is declining. The decrease in commencements of engineering students means we are unlikely to see an increase in graduate levels until at least 2025, and this is unlikely at current rates without intervention.

With demand for engineering skills expected to continue to increase, this research shows Australia needs to address five areas to build an engineering workforce that can meet our current and future needs.

  1. Encourage more young Australians to choose to study engineering for their tertiary education and pursue engineering as a career.
  2. Improve engineering study completion rates.
  3. Actively retain engineers in the engineering workforce.
  4. Re-examine Australia's skilled migrant workforce and the systems that support it. Over 58 per cent of Australia’s engineering workforce are born overseas, indicating long-term and persistent domestic supply challenges.
  5. Explore ways of improving how the future engineering workforce is planned. Improved demand data, fed back to universities and schools, can help close the information loop and ensure the engineers that we need in the future are being trained now.
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