Demand in Australia and New Zealand for experienced engineers from the UK will remain high in 2013, and for the next five years, despite conflicting reports that the mining and natural resources boom in Australia is slowing down, according to TrackMeBack.com, an online jobs community that links UK engineers with leading firms in Australia and New Zealand.
According to TrackMeBack.com and Engineers Australia, all indicators show that the engineering sectors in Australia and New Zealand will continue to experience growth, particularly in engineering constructions associated with major public infrastructure projects.
The boom in Australia’s mining and natural resources industries, and corresponding construction industry boom, has left employers in Australia and New Zealand with considerable skills shortages for some time. The mining industry has created approximately 130,000 jobs since 2007 and skilled migration has been the Australian Government’s first line of response to its persistent shortage of engineers, with the UK being a primary source of expertise.
Australian-born individuals make up only 50.6% of the engineering labour force, with the remainder coming from overseas.
Confidence in the outlook for Australia’s mining boom has recently been dented by a soaring Australian dollar, two-year lows in both iron ore and coal prices and a slower Chinese economy. However, Caroline Rafferty, general manager of TrackMeBack.com, said there is still strong demand for engineers in Australia: “Just this week the Australian Government predicted the creation of 100,000 new jobs in mining in the next five years, and that is what we are hearing from our clients too. Employers are still finding it really difficult to fill engineering roles in Australia because the domestic supply of new engineering graduates has not been able to keep pace with increases in demand for a number of years. We are still lagging way behind in terms of filling those gaps so working in Australia remains an excellent proposition for experienced UK engineers.”
And just over the water, in New Zealand, it is more of the same according to TrackMeBack.com client Transpower, which owns and maintains the national grid for New Zealand: “We have lost a lot of our young engineers to Australia because we cannot match their salaries,” said Elizabeth Williams, recruitment advisor at Transpower. “As a result, we have an ageing workforce and we need to ensure their knowledge is transferred to younger staff before they retire.”
“The post-earthquake rebuilding of Christchurch has unmasked a skills shortage that was always present. Demand is especially high for transmission line engineers, protection engineers and power systems engineers,” said Elizabeth Williams. “And at the moment, because we’re in “build” mode, we’re also looking for civil and mechanical engineers.”
In both Australia and New Zealand, engineers of all descriptions are high on the list of in demand professions. This means that UK engineers who meet the Australian and New Zealand Government’s current criteria – in terms of skills, experience and qualifications – can obtain skilled migrant visas entitling them to live and work permanently in those countries.
“We have seen our business more than triple in three years,” said Rafferty. “From what we can see it does not appear to be slowing down and TrackMeBack, our clients and the Australian and New Zealand Governments expect demand for experienced UK engineers to remain high for the next five years.”
Adapted from press release by Lauren Bryant.