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Electrotechnology

Overview

This page provides high level information and data on the Electrotechnology industry which comprises six main industry sectors:

  • Electrical Services (Electricians)
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Control
  • Electronics and Computers
  • Refrigeration and Air-conditioning
  • Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

The Electrotechnology industry includes the design, maintenance, installation and repair of all electrical and electronic equipment. The Electrotechnology industry workforce stretches across a wide range of other industries including Mining, Manufacturing, Communications, Construction, Renewables, and Domestic and Commercial Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

Nationally recognised training for the Electrotechnology industry is delivered under the UEE – Electrotechnology Training Package.

For more information and data specific to Electrical Engineering, Electrical Services, Electronics and Computers, Industrial Control, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, Renewable and Sustainable Energy, ESI Generation, and ESI Transmission Distribution and Rail please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast and Electrotechnology IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast (abridged annual update).

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and skills forecasts

IRCs now submit comprehensive Skills Forecasts to the AISC every 3 years, with abridged annual updates submitted in the intervening 2 years.

Electrotechnology IRC

Industry cluster snapshot

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment and training snapshot

For the occupation of Electrician, and although there have been some fluctuations in between, employment levels have grown overall from around 99,300 in 2000 to approximately 133,700 in 2020, and these increases are expected to continue over the next four years. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics have also experienced overall growth in the same period, with increases also expected to 2024.

The occupations of Electrical Engineering Draftsperson and Technician, and Electronics Trades Workers have fluctuated over the years, however the 2000 and 2020 employment levels for both occupations are relatively similar. Projections, however, indicate a decrease in employment levels by 2024 for both occupations.

The occupation of Telecommunications Trades Worker has experienced some variation in employment levels between 2000 and 2020, but overall the figures are relatively similar. A small increase in employment levels is predicted by 2024.

The employment level for Electronic Engineering Draftsperson and Technician has decreased by more than half since 2000, with a slight increase in employment levels predicted by 2024.

After peaking at approximately 63,160 in 2017, program enrolments in the Electrotechnology Training Package declined to roughly 60,300 in 2018 but have since returned to levels similar to the peak in 2017, with 63,010 recorded in 2019. Program completions have declined to about 15,240 in 2019, but levels are still above the low point of 14,840 in 2017.

Over the past five years, around 90% of subjects were delivered as part of a nationally recognised program.

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the top priority skills required for the Electrotechnology industry are health and safety, maintenance and servicing, electrical, testing and diagnostics, and security. In addition, the top priority generic skills for the Electrotechnology industry include:

  • Technology
  • Science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM)
  • Design mindset / thinking critically / system thinking / solving problems
  • Learning agility / information literacy / intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN).

According to the job vacancy data, the most advertised Electrotechnology occupations were Electricians, followed by Electronics Trades Workers and Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics. Communication skills, preventative maintenance and problem solving were identified as the top generic skills in demand, while Westrac, Government of Queensland and Downer EDI were the top employers.

Further, the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast lists the following skills and labour shortages, as identified from an online survey of industry stakeholders:

  • Educators, trainers and assessors
  • Electricians
  • Refrigeration / air conditioning technicians
  • Engineers (various)
  • Appliance repair.

Reasons given by employers for the shortages in the job roles listed above, in order of frequency were:

  • Ageing workforce / current staff retiring
  • Cost / time to achieve the required qualification
  • Competition from other organisations
  • Wages / salaries considered too low
  • Geographic location of the vacancy.

The Electrotechnology IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast highlights a range of challenges and opportunities which will impact future skilling requirements of the Electrotechnology workforce, including:

  • Growth of the Internet of Things (IoT): The number of IoT connected devices is predicted to grow from the current 25 billion to 75 billion in 2025.
  • Electric vehicle technology and charging stations: One barrier to the fast adoption of EV (Electric Vehicle) technology is the lack of charging stations. In order to provide additional fast charging stations as identified in the Australian Infrastructure Plan as a ‘High Priority Initiative’, skill development will be required for Electrotechnology workers.
  • Digital competence – The Electrotechnology workforce requires a certain level of digital skill development in order to capitalise on the opportunities provided by the large volume of data and information generated through technological advancements occurring across AI, computer technology, automation, IoT, cloud computing, big data, customer service platforms and social media.
  • Fifth generation standard (5G) and wireless technologies: The progression of 5G technology and the associated faster internet speeds, better reliability, improved capacity, and reduced latency, will also impact on the skills needs of the Electrotechnology workforce.
  • Industry specific cyber security skills: The development of these new and advancing technologies is also accompanied by new security risks. As such, the Electrotechnology workforces needs to appropriately skilled with the capability to identify, manage and reduce the risk of cyber-attacks.
  • Renewable technologies and natural refrigerants: Skills in the installation and maintenance of solar systems are anticipated be in high demand as the uptake of solar continues to grow, with a doubling of installations predicted by the mid-2020s. Further, a move towards more ecofriendly refrigerants has prompted the need for new skills as these alternatives are more flammable, toxic, and operate at extremely high pressures.
  • WHS and silicosis developments: There has been increasing recognition and concern over Workplace Health and Safety and silicosis. Silica is an airborne dust that can occur when riveting and drilling into materials such as concrete, and once inhaled can cause lung cancer or the lung disease silicosis. In response to these concerns, a task force has been established by the Federal Government, Safe Work Australia is evaluating the applicable standards, and industry has been raising awareness through training workshops.

Covid-19 impact

COVID-19 is expected to have a significant impact on the industry, with the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast identifying anecdotal reports that Group Training Apprentices are being sent back from host employers and with their training contracts suspended or terminated. This could have a significant impact over many years on the supply of skilled labour in the Electrotechnology industry.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3124 Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3421 Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
    • 3423 Electronics Trades Workers
    • 3424 Telecommunications Trades Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupation, 2000 to 2020, May Quarter
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3124 Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3421 Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
    • 3423 Electronics Trades Workers
    • 3424 Telecommunications Trades Workers.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package:

  • UEE11/UEE – Electrotechnology Training Package.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2020, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represents most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 filtered by the ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • 34 Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3124 Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians.
  • Employers
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3423 Electronics Trades Workers
    • 3421 Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3424 Telecommunications Trades Workers.
Updated: 26 Nov 2020
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