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

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment levels for Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, and Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians have fluctuated since 2001, with Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians peaking in 2009 and seeing a slight increase in employment levels overall. Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians also fluctuated, and after a peak in 2004 has more than halved employment levels to 5,100 in 2021. A small increase is predicted for Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians between 2021 and 2025, while employment levels for Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians are predicted to remain roughly the same.

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 occupations are employed in a wide range of other industries.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 840 program enrolments and 130 completions in Electrical Engineering related qualifications during 2020. Program enrolments have continued to trend down from 2016 when 1,280 enrolments were recorded, while program completions recorded a slight increase in 2017 before declining each year to 2020 levels. During 2020 all enrolments were at the diploma and above qualification level, with 59% in the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Electrical qualification. The main intended occupation for Electrical Engineering related qualifications are Electrical Engineering Technician and Electronic Engineering Technician.

For enrolments during 2020, the type of training provider varied between qualifications. Training for the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical was delivered predominantly by TAFE institutes (59%) and universities (38%), while training for the Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering qualifications were overwhelmingly delivered by TAFE institutes, at 97% and 76% respectively. The Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering - Coal Mining and Advanced Diploma of Engineering - Explosion Protection qualifications were only delivered by private training providers (100%).

Overall, close to two thirds (66%) of training was Commonwealth and state funded, however this was notably higher for universities (82%). Close to three quarters (72%) of training at private training providers was funded through international fee for service.

Students who enrolled during 2020 were from New South Wales (29%), overseas (23%), Victoria (19%) and Western Australia (14%). In addition, more than one third of all training was delivered in New South Wales (38%), followed by Victoria (23%), Western Australia (21%) and Queensland (13%).

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

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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

The Electrotechnology IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast identified a range of new and rapidly advancing technologies which are reshaping the skill needs of the industry, with recent areas of advancements including the Internet of Things; electric vehicle technology and charging stations; digital competence (increased expectations of a digitally literate workforce); 5G and wireless technologies; industry specific cyber security skills; renewable energy technologies and natural refrigerants; and WHF and silicosis developments.

Although there is an abundance of new and advancing technologies, the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlighted concerns about 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.

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 Clean Energy at Work publication reporting that several new records were set in 2019 with regards to the rapid growth of the renewable energy sector. In addition, the Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia study suggests there are more full-time equivalent workers in energy efficiency than any other part of the energy sector.

An example of the rapid advancement of renewable technologies within this industry is outlined in the Renewable Energy and Jobs in Queensland report, which details how projects contracted and committed to over the last five years will produce more than 10,000 Gwh of the state’s electricity needs. If all proposed projects were pursued across the state it could open up more than 78,000 job-years of construction employment for a diversely skilled population - including engineers and electricians. 

Specialist skills that will support the expanding Hydrogen industry in Queensland include the areas of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry and physics; and these skills will have to be maintained and expanded to meet the growing industry demand, according to a 2020 Interim research report by Energy Skills Queensland.

In South Australia, according to the Construction, Mining and Energy Workforce Insights report future Electrical Engineer skill shortages were identified in the Electricity Supply and Construction Industries. Employers in the manufacturing, electricity and construction industries stated there was a sufficient supply of qualified electrical engineers, but applicants lacked the skills and experience they required.

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

Links and resources

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

IRC and skills forecasts

Electrotechnology IRC

 

Relevant research

Clean Energy at Work – Institute for Sustainable Futures (UTS) for the Clean Energy Council

Construction, Mining and Energy Workforce Insights - South Australian Training and Skills Commission (TASC)

Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia – Green Energy Markets for the Energy Efficiency Council and the Energy Savings Industry Association 2019

Interim Research Report: Hydrogen Industry - Job Roles, Skills, Qualifications and Experience - Energy Skills Queensland (ESQ)

Renewable Energy and Jobs in Queensland - Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

ANZETA Electrotechnology Training Alliance

Clean Energy Council

Energy Skills Queensland

Future Energy Skills

Lighting Council Australia

Master Electricians Australia

National Electrical and Communications Association

National Electrical Switchboard Manufacturers Association

NSW Utilities & Electrotechnology Industry Training Advisory Body

Smart Energy Council

 

Regulatory bodies

Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council

Electrical Safety Office QLD

Energy Safe Victoria

NT WorkSafe

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

SafeWork NSW

Worksafe Tasmania

 

Employee associations

Communications Electrical Plumbing Union

Electrical Trades Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO 4 digit selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 3124 Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021   

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupations, 2001 to 2021, 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
    • UEE62220 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical - Engineering.
  • Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering - Coal Mining
    • UEE62311 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering - Coal Mining
    • UEE62320 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering – Coal Mining.
  • Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE50407 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE50410 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE50411 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UEE50420 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering
    • UTE50299 - Diploma of Electrical Engineering.
  • Diploma of Electrical Systems Engineering
    • UEE53020 - Diploma of Electrical Systems Engineering
  • Engineering - Explosion Protection (Advanced Diploma)
    • UEE61211 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering - Explosion protection
    • UEE61220 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering – Explosion protection.
  • Engineering Technology - Electrical (Advanced Diploma)
    • UEE61307 - Advanced Diploma of Electrical - Technology
    • UEE62110 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Electrical
    • UEE62111 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical
    • UEE62120 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Electrical.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 subject enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

UEE/UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions 
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 28 Oct 2021
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