Investigating Australia's market outlook for civil engineering in 2017

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The next 12 months are set to be busy ones for the country's civil engineers. A range of national, multi-state and state-specific projects are expected to get underway, while the advice offered by the federal government's Infrastructure Priority List means there will be more in the pipeline for years to come as well. 

Overall, civil engineers can head into 2017 with a healthy level of excitement, as job prospects remain positive in the wake of continued infrastructure development across the country. 

Major infrastructure projects define 2017

One of the year's largest projects actually got underway just before the Christmas break. While workers across a range of industries were all winding down for the year, those working on Sydney's light rail project jumped at the opportunity to put down 80 metres of track as commuters began to vacate the city. However, this is just a small step for a project that will eventually span a 12 kilometre route across 19 stops. The scale of the project means it isn't due to be completed until 2019, sustaining civil engineering jobs in the meantime. 

Roading upgrades continue to shape infrastructure employment.

It's not the only infrastructure project expected to boost employment in the state either, with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development listing a range that are either already underway, in planning or proposed. Some of the significant ones underway across NSW include the upgrades to the Pacific Highway as it expands into 4 lanes further up the coast and the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital redevelopment. 

Looking at the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule's timeline, one of the main themes driving this development is continual upgrades to the country's roads. With safe roads essential to the many transport companies and public road users that travel throughout Australia, it's understandable why they continue to be a strong source of engineering roles. 

How are future projects determined?

Infrastructure Australia has created the Infrastructure Priority List to ensure there is clarity surrounding the projects that are predicted to make the biggest difference in Australia. The most recent list, published in November 2016, revealed a significant focus on NSW in the High Priority category, including the Western Sydney Airport, M4 motorway upgrade and the ongoing WestConnex development. Other projects in this category included road and transport improvements in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. 

In the high priority category, the transport theme is continued, with a nationwide focus on improving accessibility for drivers and people who rely on public transport. However, many of these are still in the business case development stage, suggesting that while they're considered priority projects, they may not get underway for a couple of years or more. 

To appear on the Infrastructure Priority List, projects have to be submitted to Infrastructure Australia and assessed by its Board. Recently, there has been a major focus on infrastructure projects to meet the many challenges Australia's states and territories are facing in this regard. 

Open Universities Australia investigated the employment trends facing the civil engineering talent market, finding the future is looking bright as projects continue to ramp up across the country. With the Infrastructure Priority List growing by the month, there's a significant amount of work for them to complete. A positive future for Australian civil engineers

According to Open Universities Australia, the number of people employed in the industry has grown by just over 24 per cent over the past five years, and the organisation expects this trend to continue throughout 2017. Overall, Queensland and NSW were responsible for the highest percentage of employment in this field, with both states re[resenting around 27 per cent of placements. 

From 2017 onwards, it seems like civil engineering will remain a busy industry for Australia. Get in touch with the specialists and The Recruitment Company to find out more. 

By Dave Keegan