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Engineers set to benefit from projects boom

Sydney Metro, not to scale. Graphic: Transport for NSW

A surge of major infrastructure projects is set to drive up wages in the engineering sector, with almost two-dozen multi-billion-dollar projects on the cards around the nation.

Engineers Australia executive general manager Brent Jackson, who spoke with the AFR, says the body’s data suggests the infrastructure boom could last longer than the mining boom, with more than $100 billion of projects planned around Australia.

“The jobs data is clear as a bell, we’re on the up,” Jackson was quoted as saying.

“Because we’ve got so many projects on the boil, we’re not going to see this boom back off for an awfully long time.”

Projects on the cards around Australia include the Sydney Metro, new intercity train fleet, WestConnex tunnel and interchange, Western Sydney Airport, Western Harbour Tunnel, Beaches Link Tunnel, Western Sydney Metro and F6 expansion in NSW.

South of the border, there’s more projects in Victoria including the Metro Tunnel, the West Gate tunnel, the High Capacity Metro Trains project, and a rail link to Melbourne Airport.

And in Queensland, there’s Cross River Rail, the expansion of the Port of Gladstone, and the vast portion of the work required for the nationally-relevant Inland Rail project.

All that work is good news for engineering professionals, who would most likely see rising wages as a result of higher demand for their services.

“There’s no doubt it’s a competitive market out there,” John Holland chief executive Joe Barr told AFR. “The east coast is experiencing an unprecedented infrastructure boom.

“At this rate we’re hiring in around 100 people a month to meet demand, and that will continue with major projects coming online like Sydney Metro, Melbourne tunnel and West Gate Tunnel.”

Jackson added: “Unlike mining projects where the requirement for engineers is intensive at the front-end of the project then tapers off dramatically when the project becomes operational, rail projects tend to have more of a need for engineers throughout their lifecycle.”

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