Electrical Engineers design, develop and supervise the manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of equipment, machines and systems for the generation, distribution, utilisation and control of electric power.
Specialisations: Electrical Design Engineer, Railway Signalling Engineer, Signalling and Communications Engineer.
A bachelor degree in engineering majoring in electrical or a related field is needed to work as an Electrical Engineer. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.
planning and designing power stations and power generation equipment
determining the type and arrangement of circuits, transformers, circuit-breakers, transmission lines and other equipment
developing products such as electric motors, components, equipment and appliances
interpreting specifications, drawings, standards and regulations relating to electric power equipment and use
organising and managing resources used in the supply of electrical components, machines, appliances and equipment
establishing delivery and installation schedules for machines, switchgear, cables and fittings
supervising the operation and maintenance of power stations, transmission and distribution systems and industrial plants
designing and installing control and signalling equipment for road, rail and air traffic
may specialise in research in areas such as power generation and transmission systems, transformers, switchgear and electric motors, telemetry and control systems
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 30,500 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 91% of people employed as Electrical Engineers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 25 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.
More than half of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $2,538 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $2,044
- 1 in 4 earn more than $3,000
Median hourly earnings are $62, this is much more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Electrical Engineers||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Electrical Engineers||All Jobs Average|
Around 74% of Electrical Engineers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
New South Wales and Western Australia have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Perth - South East
- Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
- Melbourne - South East
- Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
- Perth - North West.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Electrical Engineers is 39 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 7% of the workforce. This is 41 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Electrical Engineers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.1||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in engineering majoring in electrical or a related field is needed to work as an Electrical Engineer. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.
Registration may be required in some states and territories. In addition, Engineers Australia has a non-compulsory National Engineering Register.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Electrical Engineers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||20.1||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.3||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Electrical Engineers who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Using maths to solve problems.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
54%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Talking to others.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
46%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
46%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Teaching people how to do something.
43%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
84%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
76%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
57%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
49%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
48%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
47%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
31%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
31%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
30%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
29%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
29%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
26%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Read and understand written information.
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
57%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
52%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
45%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
77%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
75%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
74%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
72%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
72%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
68%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
68%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
66%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
65%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
65%Drafting, laying out, and specifying parts
Detailing and describing how devices, parts or equipment are to be made, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
64%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
63%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
62%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
61%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
60%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
57%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
54%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
54%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
52%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Use electronic mail.
95%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Talk on the telephone.
Work with people in a group or team.
85%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
84%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
83%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
81%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
76%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
76%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
72%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
71%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
Work to strict deadlines.
69%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
68%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
67%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
59%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 17-2071.00 - Electrical Engineers.