‘Address overlooked migrant workforce’: Engineers Australia’s plan ahead of jobs summit

Ahead of the national jobs and skills summit in Canberra that begins tomorrow, Engineers Australia is seeking support from industry and government to address the massive current job vacancies in the industry – the highest numbers, in fact, since 2012.

Latest analysis of the National Skills Commission Labour Market Insights by Engineers Australia reflects job vacancies are up 176 per cent since the pandemic began.

Industrial, production, mechanical, and civil engineers continue to be the most sought-after hires, followed by electrical engineers, ICT support and test engineers, and mining.

In the last 12 months alone, engineering vacancies have increased by over 40 per cent, the data indicates.

However, this comes even as nearly half of all migrants actively seeking engineering roles are currently unemployed.

At the summit, Engineers Australia will put forward its Pathways to Employment program that “provides a road forward for increasing employment outcomes of our migrant and refugee engineers”, according to Ms Madew.

With an initial five-year investment, it combines internships, industry partnerships, and assessment and skills components to create a self-sustaining program.

Engineers Australia research shows there is a significant cohort of migrant engineers already in Australia who have long-term difficulties securing employment appropriate to their experience,” said Romilly Madew AO, CEO Engineers Australia CEO.

“Tapping into this underutilised talent supply offers one immediate means of easing skills shortages. Our research found that employer bias associated with not being ‘local’- whether it’s experience, networks, standards, references, or qualifications- was the biggest culprit.”

Earlier this year, to address this issue, Engineers Australia had announced free, fast- tracked skills assessments to migrants with skills or qualifications in fields like civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and petroleum engineering.

Their research has previously found that migrant engineers struggling to find roles in their field turn to industries like construction (14 per cent) and professional services (12 per cent).

“Productive use of migrant engineers is vital to our national engineering capability, and we must – and can – address this as a matter of urgency,” Ms Madow stated.

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