Civil Engineers plan, design, organise and oversee the construction and operation of dams, bridges, pipelines, gas and water supply schemes, sewerage systems, airports and other civil engineering projects.
Specialisations: Airfield Engineer Officer (Air Force), Hydraulics Engineer.
A bachelor degree in civil engineering is needed to work as a Civil Engineer. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.
Determines construction methods, materials and quality standards, and drafts and interprets specifications, drawings, plans, construction methods and procedures.
Organises and directs site labour and the delivery of construction materials, plant and equipment, and establishes detailed programs for the co-ordination of site activities.
Studies architectural and engineering drawings and specifications to estimate total costs, and prepare detailed cost plans and estimates as tools to assist in budgetary control.
Monitors changes to designs, assesses effects on cost, and measures, values and negotiates variations to designs.
Analyses structural systems for both static and dynamic loads.
Designs structures to ensure they do not collapse, bend, twist or vibrate in undesirable ways.
Assesses present and future travel flow patterns taking into account population increases and needs changes.
Designs the physical aspects of transportation systems such as highways, railroads, urban transit, air transportation, logistical supply systems and their terminals.
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Civil Engineering Professionals, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 91% of people employed as Civil 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 46 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Civil Engineers work in industries like:
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Public administration and safety
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Civil Engineers||All Jobs Average|
Around 72% of Civil Engineers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Queensland has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Melbourne - Inner
- Brisbane Inner City
- Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
- Brisbane - South
- 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 Civil Engineers is 35 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 12% of the workforce. This is 36 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||Civil Engineers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.6||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 civil engineering is needed to work as a Civil 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||Civil Engineers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||19.7||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 Civil Engineering Professionals who have a positive and enthusiastic attitude and connect well with others.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Using maths to solve problems.
Reading work related information.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
59%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
59%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Talking to others.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
57%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Teaching people how to do something.
45%Management of material resources
Providing the right equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do work.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
90%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
84%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
72%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
65%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
60%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
60%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
60%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
56%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
55%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
53%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
51%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
63%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
57%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
55%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
See details that are far away.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
79%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
77%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
75%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
75%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
73%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
72%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
72%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
71%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
71%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
70%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
70%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
68%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
67%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
66%Managing payments and orders
Monitoring and controlling resources and the spending of money.
65%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
63%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
62%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
61%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
61%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
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.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without 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 people. Helping or providing service to others.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
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.
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.
Use electronic mail.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
84%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
82%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
82%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
80%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
80%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
78%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
76%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
74%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
Work to strict deadlines.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
70%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
69%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
68%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
67%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
65%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
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, 17-2051.00 - Civil Engineers.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.