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Insights What does Australia's booming tech scene mean for engineering?

For many years, Australia has been widely renowned for the agriculture, mining, finance, and energy sectors, amongst others.

But the technology sector is now a key pillar of the Australian economy, contributing around AU$167 billion dollars and growing at a faster pace than other industries. Over the next decade, this sector will solidify its place in the economy, and jobs in tech will be critical in maintaining this. 

AtkinsRéalis , and our brands Atkins and Faithful+Gould, have been on a journey over the last 40 years, establishing a solid reputation in Australia for our engineering and consultancy expertise. We are known for our specialisms in whole-life project delivery in key markets including clean power, infrastructure, mining and metallurgy, and oil and gas, and we incorporate innovation, sustainability, and technology into all that we do.

image of a chart showing the direct and indirect contribution of the tech sector to Australian GDP. It has grown from $94 billion in 2016-17 to $133 billion in 2019-20

Source: ANS (2021); Accenture analysis

Why is Australia’s tech scene on the rise?

Traditionally, Australia has been known for its vast mining industry, which has been a pillar of the country’s economy and is one of its most established sectors, for instance contributing 10% of the national GDP in 2020. Yet, over the last few years, the technology sector has been booming and is creating a multitude of opportunities.

Australian stocks in tech have jumped during the COVID-19 pandemic, generating high levels of optimism for the sector. There is a drive to further transform Australia into a leading digital hub, which is being backed by big enterprises including Google, and the Technology Council of Australia was founded to lobby the government. Their focus will be on establishing policies and actions that support growth and local government investment in digital innovations. With this level of backing, Australia’s tech scene is establishing firm foundations to grow.

What does this mean for engineering?

With extensive support and investment in digital advancement in Australia, all sectors will be experiencing a transformation, including the construction and engineering industries. The latest technology trends for engineering include growth in autonomy. AI systems, for example, are being developed to advise engineers on materials selection and compliance, whilst drones are used on construction sites and robots are also being used in factories.

The Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the global network of ‘smart’ physical objects or things that share data across the internet, is also shaping modern engineering. As an emerging innovation, the IoT allows engineers and designers to gather new insights into the inner workings of infrastructure, buildings, machinery and more. It encourages transparency and innovation on construction sites and in manufacturing processes, monitoring processes, and optimising where necessary. For example, sensors are being fitted to excavators and other site machinery, enabling more safe and efficient operations. 

Data, the world’s most valuable commodity, is of course rapidly changing the landscape as it is fuelling digital and technological transformation. Data engineering is becoming an increasingly popular career choice as whilst a technical background isn’t typically necessary, it is an exciting and innovative role which is fundamental to the successful delivery of projects.

How can you harness the technical revolution in engineering?

Those aiming to build a successful career in engineering will need to consider upskilling and/or reskilling to take advantage of the technological revolution. The use of technology in engineering will only increase, so both graduate engineers and qualified engineers will need to remain innovative and agile in the face of change.

Infrastructure projects can contribute significant amounts of global greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere unless we implement sustainable initiatives to reduce them. Digital solutions will ultimately enable efficiencies and streamlined processes, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable future. BIM (Building Information Modelling), for example, enables civil engineers to map the lifecycle of projects and accurately calculate the resources needed. This facilitates a reduction in waste and reduces the energy and materials used, whilst also saving time and money.

Seize an engineering opportunity on one of our iconic projects

At AtkinsRéalis , we incorporate technology on all our projects as we know it will help us reach our Net Zero Carbon targets. We have worked on some of Australia’s most iconic projects including unlocking Australia’s natural gas resources on Gorgon, an inshore windfarm at Stockyard Hill, and Paramatta Light Rail, a major infrastructure project which will play an important role in building a new central business district in western Sydney.

Australia has a growing status as a technology hub, so you’ll want to be ahead of the curve. If you like a challenge and you want to implement some of your innovative ideas on our iconic projects, apply for an engineering job in Australia today.