Making the transition from student to electrical engineering graduate can be a stressful process.

Getting the best job possible and kicking off your professional careers requires that you be informed.

The Electrical Engineering Career Guide provides industry specific information regarding performance, demand, employment, job vacancies and remuneration, helping you get up to speed with all that’s happening in the profession.

The Electrical Engineering Career Guide will help you rapidly build your understanding of the profession, and better understand your prospects going forward.

Career prospects for graduate engineers are intrinsically linked to the performance of major engineer-ing industries. Industries undergoing major growth tend to invest to expand their operations, and in doing so the number of employees often increases. By analysing the performance of major engineer-employing industries, graduates can gain insights as to where future jobs may be, where opportunities may lie, and what subjects or disciplines they may wish to specialise in.

Engineering Construction

Engineering construction activity directly drives the employment of thousands of engineers across Australia. Engineers are required through all phases of construction, from planning and scoping, through the build, review and subsequent upkeep and maintenance.

The level of engineering construction activity can also provide useful insights into the trajectory of major engineer-employing industries. Those industries undertaking major new construction are likely to expand the engineering workforce over the years ahead.

The value of done provides a useful snapshot of the current level of engineering work, while the value of work yet to be done and the value of work commenced allow users to better understand the amount of engineering work in the pipeline over the near to medium term.

Major new investment in infrastructure across Australia will provide new opportunities for electrical engineers over the coming years. New road and rail projects in particular will drive employment growth, as will ongoing maintenance post completion, with many of these projects involving extensive electrical components. The large volume of work yet to be done across these industries indicates that growth will continue over the medium term.

However, weaker investment in power networks will limit growth to come degree. Recent regulatory decisions in the industry have forced networks to limit new investment. However, the sector remains a major employer of engineers, and investment will likely return to a pattern of growth as energy use rises.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing in Australia is increasingly reliant on engineering skill. Manufacturers can no longer compete on price alone, but must instead differentiate their products on the basis of quality and precision. Engineers play a key role in this process, driving innovation and product development.

Manufacturers that best take advantage of these areas of competitive advantage are most likely to grow in the current climate, and will provide opportunities for engineers going forward.


Manufacturing is a major employer of electrical engineers across Australia. Through direct employment and through their wide employment in consulting, they play a key role in the sector. Manufacturing has remained relatively steady over the past few years, however those areas with higher quality products – which tend to employ more engineers – have fared well. Electrical engineers will remain at the forefront of the sector over the years ahead, driving innovation and developing new ways to improve efficiency.

It is important that the graduates understand where engineers are employed throughout the economy. This can help graduates tailor their education to meet the needs of their future career, and may also help guide their efforts to find employment or internships. A thorough understanding of potential industries can provide a major edge for graduates during the application process, as candidates can better identify and explain how their skills will benefit their employer.

Electrical engineers are employed widely in the professional, scientific and technical services industry, which is comprised largely on consulting firms. Electricity, gas, water and waste services is also a major employer of electrical engineers, as is manufacturing, and construction.

From a geographical perspective, the eastern seaboard states dominate the market for civil engineers, with New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland occupying the top three positions. However, the wide skillset and broad need for civil engineering skills ensures that employment remains relatively strong Australia wide.

While employment data can help graduates identify where engineers are employed, job vacancy statistics can provide key insights into which areas are currently hiring, and which industries and states are expanding their engineering workforce.

In some cases, opportunities for graduates may be improved throughout relocation, or by targeting growth industries. A detailed understanding of the job market can enable graduates to target their efforts towards industries and geographic regions in which they are most likely to be successful.

According to data from the Department of Employment, electrical engineering roles accounted for 7.5% of advertised engineering positions over the past year. Within the Australian market, electrical engineering skills have a wide range of applications, with graduates working in areas including power generation, electricity distribution and transmission, telecommunications, and advanced manufacturing. The broad range of applications tends to provide a level of security for electrical engineers, particularly as technology advances. Opportunities for electrical engineers are expected to grow strongly over the coming years as more industries and businesses seek a competitive edge through engineering and technology.

According to the latest data from the Department of Employment, the number of advertised electrical engineering roles risen over the past 12 months, continuing its longer-term growth trend. This higher demand indicates that employment prospects remain strong for electrical engineering graduates.

Remuneration is the key form of reward received by engineers in exchange for their expertise and effort. However, remuneration can differ significantly by industry, region, experience and responsibility. With this in mind, it is important that engineers know what they are worth, as this provides a firm bargaining position when negotiating a new contract or a pay rise.

The effect of accepting lower wages or below market remuneration is magnified over the span of a career, making the ability to effectively negotiate wages all the more important. A strong base of knowledge and a detailed understanding of market rates form the first step in negotiating a higher wage, and building a rewarding career in engineering.

Graduates

According to graduate careers Australia, electrical engineering graduates earn an average of $65,000 per year upon graduation, with the 86.0% of those seeking full-time employment successfully finding work in the field within three months.

This compares quite favourably against the wider cohort of university graduates, where the average annual salary is $55,000, and the rate of full time employment 71.3%

By responsibility

As an engineer’s level of responsibility changes, so too does their remuneration. It is important that engineers understand how their remuneration should progress throughout their career. By understanding the market rates in any given discipline, engineers will be better positioned to ensure they receive fair remuneration for their role.