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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, ICT and Communications, Construction, and Utilities.  In Australia the Electrotechnology industry generates over $85 billion in revenue and employs approximately 340,000 people.

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

For more information and data specific to Electrical Services, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Control, Electronics and Computers, 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 Skills Forecast.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

For occupations within the Electrotechnology industry both Electricians, and Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics have experienced growth in employment levels between the years 2000 and 2017, and employment in both of these occupations is projected to increase further over the next 5 years. For the occupations of Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, Electronics Trades Workers, and Telecommunications Trades Workers employment levels have fallen between the period 2000 and 2017 and are projected to either decrease further or only increase by a small amount until 2022.

There were approximately 59,000 program enrolments in the Electrotechnology Training Package during 2016 and just over 14,000 completions. Both program enrolments and completions have decreased between 2014 and 2016. Subject only (no qualification) enrolments have also fallen significantly over the same period.

Industry insights on skills needs

Priority skills infographic,, Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,,  Title: Top priority skills,, information and communication technology, renewable energy storage, fault finding /diagnostics, technical, organisational /planning,, Title: Top generic skills,, Technology,, Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems,, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM),, Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management,, Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN),, Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top generic skills in demand,, Communication Skills, Problem Solving, Organisational Skills, Preventive Maintenance, Troubleshooting,, Title: Top 5 occupations in demand,, Electricians, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics, Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, Telecommunications Trades Workers, Electronics Trades Workers,, Title: Top 5 locations,, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia,, Title: Top employers,, DOWNER EDI, WESTRAC, AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE, SPOTLESS GROUP, GOVERNMENT OF QUEENSLAND,, Infographic source, Priority skills source: Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool.

According to the Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 the top priority skills required for the Electrotechnology industry are:

  • information and communication technology
  • renewable energy storage
  • fault finding/diagnostics
  • technical
  • organisational/planning.

Electrotechnology related job roles reported by the Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 as being in shortage over the last 12 months were:

  • Electricians
  • Training/Assessors
  • Refrigeration/Air-Conditioning Technicians
  • Renewables Specialists
  • Signalling Technicians.

Reasons employers gave for the difficulty of recruiting staff in the job roles listed above in order of frequency were:

  • shortage of skilled/qualified personnel
  • cost/time to achieve the required qualification
  • ageing workforce/current staff retiring
  • remuneration/employment conditions
  • geographic location of the vacancy.

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers were communication and problem solving.  The most advertised Electrotechnology occupations were Electricians followed by Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics which corresponded with the occupations listed as in shortage by the Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast.  Locations with the most job advertisements for Electrotechnology workers were New South Wales and Queensland.

The Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 highlights technological change as one of the big challenges for the future skilling of the Electrotechnology workforce.  Technological advances are mentioned as occurring in the following areas:

  • Power over Ethernet is becoming widely used to support the scalability of networks through the transmission of power through network cables.
  • Self-generation of electricity and battery storage through renewable technology is rapidly increasing.
  • New products and services in process and home automation are regularly coming onto the market in Australia creating demand for specialised skills in the installation of these technologies.
  • Energy efficiency initiatives introduced by the Federal and State Governments are encouraging the uptake of new technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV), battery storage and electric vehicles.

Due to the continuous adoption of the emerging technologies listed above the Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 mentions the following areas of skills and knowledge development required for the Electrotechnology workforce:

  • Energy efficiency technologies such as solar PV, battery storage, and electric vehicles.
  • Home /industrial process automation systems.
  • Power over Ethernet.
  • The use of smart phones to control and integrate IT systems, security systems and electrical services.

A report by the International Specialised Skills Institute examined electrical apprenticeship training within the international arena.  The report made several recommendations to industry organisations aimed at enhancing the quality of Australian electrical apprenticeships:

  • The establishment of stronger links between Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and industry/industry groups.
  • The establishment of greater industry interaction through collaborative groups and projects.
  • A higher degree of engagement by employers in the delivery of apprenticeship training.

The issue of an ageing Electrotechnology workforce as reported in the Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 highlights the importance of ensuring a ready supply of labour into the industry through quality apprenticeship programs.  The ageing workforce represents a challenge to the industry through the loss of key skills and the skills gaps created by retiring workers.  It also increases the risk of knowledge gaps when industry experience and corporate knowledge is not passed on.  The Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 suggests mentoring and other knowledge sharing as initiatives that could assist in maintaining corporate and industry knowledge.

A further challenge the Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast 2017 highlights, is that of competition between employers for employees with the correct accreditation and skills, which creates workforce demand in industry sectors where specialised knowledge is required.  This competition is due to the strict licensing requirements for the Electrotechnology workforce.   Attracting new people into the industry to increase the workforce pool is challenging due to the increasing costs for apprenticeships and licencing.  Policies designed to encourage greater industry participation by under-represented groups such as females would have a beneficial impact on securing the long term supply of labour.

It is evident that the number one challenge for skilling the Electrotechnology workforce is the emergence of new technologies.  Issues such as an ageing workforce and competition for skilled workers are also prevalent.  A high degree of engagement between industry groups and training organisations will be required to ensure that the future Electrotechnology workforce is adequately trained.

Links and resources

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association

ANZETA Electrotechnology Training Alliance

Australian Energy Storage Council

Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating

Australian Rail Track Corporation

Clean Energy Council

Energy Skills Queensland

Energy Skills SA

Future Energy Skills

Institute of Instrumentation Control and Automation

Lighting Council Australia

Master Electricians Australia

National Electrical and Communications Association

National Electrical Switchboard Manufacturers Association

NSW Utilities & Electrotechnology Industry Training Advisory Body

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association Australia

 

Regulatory bodies

Australian Refrigeration Council

Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council

Energy Safe Victoria

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

Worksafe Tasmania

 

Employee associations

Communications Electrical Plumbing Union

Electrical Trades Union

 

Relevant research

Deepening the Skill and Knowledge Base While Maintaining the Competitiveness of the Australian Electrical Apprenticeship Programs – International Specialised Skills Institute

Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap: Final Report – Energy Network Australia, CSIRO

Electrotechnology IRC Skills Forecast

Environmental Scan 2015 – E-Oz Energy Skills Australia

Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market: Blueprint for the Future – Department of the Environment and Energy

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • 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 2017, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), sex, state and territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1st November 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupation, 2000 to 2017, 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:

  • 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:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 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 Industry Reference Committee’s Skills Forecast 2017.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labor insight – real-time labor market information tool. <http://www.burning-glass.com>. 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top five advertised VET-related ANZSCO 4 digit level Electrotechnology occupations and the top five locations and employers according to job advertisements.
  • Generic skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass labour insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related ANZSCO 4 digit level Electrotechnology occupations.