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

For more information on the ESI Generation, ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail, Water and Gas sectors, their Industry Reference Committees, Skills Forecasts and Training Packages, follow the links to their respective sector pages.

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

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

IRC and skills forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

The largest Utilities industry sector by employment is Electricity Transmission, Distribution and Rail (which also includes Electricity Supply, nfd). Employment in this sector has grown significantly since 2000 to 50,600 in 2018 but is expected to decrease slightly to 2023. Note, however, a new version of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification came out in 2006, which may affect the employment level time series.

Employment in the Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage sector has also grown significantly since 2000, peaking in 2012, and employment is expected to increase slightly to 2023. Employment in Electricity Generation, and Gas on the other hand, is expected to remain relatively stable to 2023.  

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 aging 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 specific challenges for the skilling of their workforces. The increase of automation presents an additional challenge as it requires new skills of the workforce in appropriately handling new technologies.

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

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.


Committees and Skills Services Organisation

Australian Industry Skills Committee

Australian Industry Standards Limited


Industry Reference Committees

ESI Generation Industry Reference Committee

ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail Industry Reference Committee

Gas Industry Reference Committee

Water Industry Reference Committee


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

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.

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

Renewable energy jobs: future growth in Australia Climate Council.



Data sources and notes

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

  • Employment projections to May 2023, by ANZSIC 2 and 3 digit industry:
    • 260 Electricity Supply, nfd
    • 261 Electricity Generation
    • 262 Electricity Transmission
    • 263 Electricity Distribution
    • 27 Gas Supply
    • 28 Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 .

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 and 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 260 Electricity Supply, nfd
    • 261 Electricity Generation
    • 262 Electricity Transmission
    • 263 Electricity Distribution
    • 27 Gas Supply
    • 28 Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses, 2017 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: 16 Sep 2019
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