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

  • ESI Generation
  • ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail
  • Water
  • Gas.

For more information on these sectors, their Industry Reference Committees, Skills Forecasts and Training Packages, click on the links to their respective sector pages. The relevant Service Skills Organisation for this industry is Australian Industry Standards.

Data and information on the occupations of Electricians and Plumbers (which make up a significant proportion of the utilities workforce), is contained within the Electrotechnology and Construction industry clusters.

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail is the largest employing sector in the Utilities industry followed by Water, Gas and ESI Generation.  Similarly, the ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail sector had the highest number of program enrolments during 2016 followed by Water, Gas and ESI Generation in the same order as employment level.

Industry insights on skills needs

It is evident from the IRC Skills Forecasts that there are a number of challenges facing the Utilities industry and the sectors within it.  Issues such as an ageing workforce and competition for skilled workers are prevalent in some industry sectors, such as gas. Other industry sectors, such as water and electricity generation cite climate change, environmental factors and renewable energy as challenges specific for the skilling of their workforces.

However, the most prominent challenge facing the Utilities industry, identified by all industry sectors, is associated with changing technology. For example, the recent Independent Review Into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market highlights that there are significant implications for skilling as a result of emerging technologies and services. Furthermore, the speed of technological change can result in skill gaps in the industry if the current and future workforce is not adequately trained.

Links and resources

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association

Australian Energy Council

Australian Energy Market Commission

Australian Energy Regulator

Australian Gas Association

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

Australian Pipelines and Gas Association

Australian Pump Industry Association

Australian Water Association

Clean Energy Council

Clean Energy Regulator

Energy Networks Australia

Energy Safe Victoria

Energy Skills Queensland

Energy Skills SA

Future Energy Skills

Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia

Gas Energy Australia

Gas Technical Regulators Committee

Industry Skills Advisory Council NT

Pump Industry Australia

Queensland Water Directorate (qldwater)

Safe Work Australia

The Australian Power Institute

Utilities and Electrotechnology Industry Training Advisory Board - NSW

Utilities, Engineering, Electrical and Automotive Training Council - WA

Utility Market Intelligence

Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority


Water Directorate - NSW

Water Industry Operators Association of Australia

Water Services Association of Australia


Employee associations

Australian Services Union

Australian Workers Union

Electrical Trades Union

Transport Workers Union

United Services Union


Utilities related research organisations

Australian Institute of Energy

Energy - CSIRO

Melbourne Energy Institute

The Australian Institute

University of South Australia Barbara Hardy Institute – Sustainable Energy

University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas

University of Queensland – Energy Initiative

University of Western Australia – Centre for Energy


Relevant research

A changing electricity industry, a changing workforce: a discussion paper on the future skilling implications of the smart grid – Energy Skills Queensland.

Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap: Final Report – Energy Network Australia; CSIRO.

Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap: future workforce skilling impacts – Energy Skills Queensland.

Electricity, Gas, Water & Waste Services [Industry profiles 2016] – South Australian Training and Skills Commission.

Energy Industry Apprenticeship Progression Management System: final report including future sustainability strategies – E-Oz Energy Skills Australia.

Environmental scan 2015: E-Oz Energy Skills Australia – E-Oz Energy Skills Australia.

Independent review into the future security of the national electricity market: blueprint for the future – Finkel et al.

Queensland CSG to LNG Industry Workforce Plan 2014-2034 – Energy Skills Queensland.

Quick clean energy jobs for Victoria  – Clean Energy Council (Australia).

Renewable energy jobs: future growth in Australia – Climate Council.



Data sources and notes

Employment data has been extracted from the IRC Skill Forecasts:

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses, 2016 Program Enrolments by:

  • UEP - Electricity Supply Industry - Generation Sector Training Package
  • UET - ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail Training Package
  • NWP - National Water Training Package
  • UEG - Gas Industry Training Package.
Updated: 11 Oct 2018
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