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Electrical Engineering

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Electrical Engineering sector, which is a component of the Electrotechnology industry.

The Electrical Engineering sector includes the design and application of electrical systems. The Electrical Engineering workforce is employed across a wide variety of industries such as Defence, Manufacturing, and Electricity Supply.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for Electrical Engineering related occupations such as:

  • Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
  • Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians.

Nationally recognised training for the Electrical Engineering sector is delivered under the UEE – Electrotechnology Training Package.

For information on Electrical Services, Industrial Control, Electronics and Computers, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, and Renewable and Sustainable Energy sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment levels for Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, and Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians have fluctuated since 2000, with Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians seeing a slight decrease and Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians seeing a substantial decline in employment levels overall. Employment levels for Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians is expected to remain largely unchanged, while moderate increases are predicted for Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians between 2019 and 2024.

According to 2016 census data over 20% of Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians are employed in the Electricity Supply industry with a further 16% working in the Construction Services. For Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, nearly 17% are employed in the Defence industry and approximately 12% work in Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing. Both of these occupations are employed in a wide range of other industries.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 990 program enrolments and 230 completions in Electrical Engineering related qualifications during 2018. Both program enrolments and completions have continued to trend down from 2015 when 1,370 enrolments and 360 completions were recorded. During 2018 all enrolments were at the diploma and above qualification level, with 63% in the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Electrical qualification. The main intended occupations for Electrical Engineering related qualifications are Electrical Engineering Technician and Electronic Engineering Technician.

For enrolments during 2018, the type of training provider varied significantly between qualifications.  For example, delivery of training for the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical was split between TAFE institutes and universities at 59% and 41% respectively. However, training for the Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering qualifications were overwhelmingly delivered by TAFE institutes, at 93% and 94% respectively.

For subject enrolments during 2018 the majority were Commonwealth and state funded (62%), while nearly a third were international fee for service (31%) and domestic fee for service made up the remaining (7%).

Overwhelmingly, students who enrolled during 2018 were from New South Wales (24%), overseas (23%), Victoria (21%) and Western Australia (15%).

Close to a third of all training was delivered in New South Wales (31%), followed by Victoria (26%), Western Australia (24%) and Queensland (13%).

There were insufficient commencements in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

According to the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, various Engineer occupations were reported by employers as being in shortage during the previous 12 months. The most common reasons identified by employers for the shortage 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 2019 Skills Forecast also highlights the reduced uptake of post trade training at the certificate IV and above as potentially creating a widening ‘skills gap’ between the highly technical systems being manufactured today, and the ability of trade technicians to keep those systems operating. Methods of promoting post-trade upskilling and qualifications are necessary to ensure industry demand for highly specialised workers is met. This trend is supported by the training data, with the number of program enrolments in advanced Electrical Engineering qualifications falling between 2017 and 2018.

The rapid advancement of new technologies including clean energy and renewable technologies, as outlined in the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, brings about the need to urgently review and update a range of Electrotechnology related qualifications, including electrical. Clean energy and renewable technologies are significant and growing employers, with the Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia study suggesting that there are more full-time equivalent workers in energy efficiency than any other part of the energy sector. In addition, an article by Sophie Vorrath for Renew Economy indicates there has been a 33% increase in full-time equivalent employment from 2015/16 to 2016/17 within the renewable energy industry.

For an analysis of Electrotechnology IRC priority skills and job vacancy data, see the Electrotechnology industry cluster page.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO 4 digit selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3124 Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupations, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3124 Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit VET-related occupations, and 2 digit level industries to identify the distribution of VET-related occupation workforce across industry sectors.                                                

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

UEE/UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package

  • Advanced Diploma of Electrical - Engineering
    • UEE60107 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE60110 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE62211 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical – Engineering
  • Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering - Coal Mining
    • UEE62311 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering - Coal Mining
  • Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE50407 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE50410 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering
Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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