A seemingly endless pipeline of projects in civil infrastructure, mining and energy, combined with a lack of talent to fill them, have produced a perfect storm of engineering recruitment conditions. The race for engineering talent is showing no sign of slowing down — a reality reflected in the lucrative salary packages offered to attract engineering professionals.
If you’re an Engineer looking for a job in Oil and Gas, Mining or Construction, read on for the latest on the highest pay packages and the trends driving them.
Note: The salary figures quoted are generalised – if you would like current information about specific engineering jobs, please feel free to connect with one of our engineering recruitment experts.
High Paying Mining and Oil and Gas Engineering Roles
According to the government’s latest Resources and Energy Major Projects (REMP) list, there are currently 192 projects at the feasibility stage in Australia, with an estimated worth of $251-340 billion. There are a further 83 at the committed stage, half of those in the oil and gas sector. This certainly bodes well if you’re looking for an engineering job in oil and gas.
Combining our own research and knowledge with broader market data, the engineering roles outlined here offer the highest pay packages. The salary ranges depicted start from Junior positions (0-5 years’ experience) to Lead/Principal/Chief positions (16+ years’ experience).
- Reservoir Engineer – $95,000 (Junior) – $273,000 (Lead/Principal/Chief)
- Completions Engineer – $95,000 (Junior) – $272,000 (Lead/Principal/Chief)
- Petroleum Engineer – $95,500 (Junior) – $260,000 (Lead/Principal/Chief)
- Drilling Engineer – $120,000 (Junior) – $246,000 (Lead/Principal/Chief)
These figures, especially for those with extensive engineering experience, are generous, to say the least. But they’re not surprising when you consider the sheer amount of current and upcoming projects that are adding pressure on the talent supply.
Among these are onshore projects such as coal seam gas operations across the east coast and Queensland basins, and a plethora of major offshore projects, like the $16.5 billion Scarborough LNG project in Western Australia, slated to start production in 2026.
There’s also an abundance of work in the decommissioning field. One example is The Northern Endeavour vessel that is being disconnected from oil wells in the Timor Sea, a mammoth undertaking that will require specialised engineering expertise to ensure the safety and success of the project.
As for Australia’s booming mining sector, Mining Engineers’ salaries range from $150,000 to $170,000. A large portion of this is due to soaring demand from the technology, battery and renewable energy market for critical minerals used in their production.
Lithium, a major component in electronics and electric vehicle batteries, is undergoing a boom, with Australia the world’s largest lithium miner, supplying 60% of lithium to the global market. Export earnings increased more than ten-fold in just two years, from $1.1bn in 2020-21 to almost $14bn in 2022–23.
Along with the biggest players in the lithium market (Rio Tinto, Pilbara Minerals, Mineral Resources and Allkem), even Wesfarmers is dipping their toes in. All these and more are in dire need of mining engineers.
High Paying Roles in Renewable Energy, Construction and General Engineering
Shifting the focus to the general engineering, construction and renewable energy sectors, here is a rundown of roles offering top remuneration*:
- Environment Engineer – $100,000 to $120,000
- Structural Project Engineer – $95,000 to $115,000
- Mechanical Engineer – $95,000 to $115,000
- Electrical Engineer – $95,000 to $115,000
- Electrical and Instrumentation Engineers – $95,000 to $115,000
- Civil Engineer – $90,000 to $110,000
Clean energy is a burgeoning sector as Australia treads its path to net zero. According to the government’s REMP list, our pipeline for new renewable energy projects increased to 134 this year, up from 92 last year, with an estimated value of $312bn.
Hydrogen projects, particularly those focusing on green hydrogen production, storage and transportation, are an emerging field and typically involve several engineering disciplines across all phases.
Civil and Environmental Engineers both play integral roles; one in designing and constructing facilities; the other in assessing and managing the environmental impacts they have. Electrical & Instrumentation Engineers are also crucial in ensuring the electrical and control systems function seamlessly and safely.
Hydrogen projects almost doubled from an estimated range of $133-185bn in 2021, to $230-303bn in 2022, according to the REMP list. These figures account for two mega-projects worth $150 billion – the $100 billion Western Green Energy Hub (WGEH) and the estimated $50 billion Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH).
The WGEH is one of the largest green projects in the world, situated in far southeast Western Australia, making use of the region’s vast solar and wind resources to produce copious amounts of green hydrogen. The AREH is very similar but also produces ammonia in addition to green hydrogen for export, this time in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
With mega-scale projects like these, the demand for engineers across all domains is and will be extremely high. This is also the case for infrastructure works, of which there have been many throughout this great land.
From current projects such as the Western Sydney Airport and Melbourne’s Westgate Tunnel, to upcoming ones like the proposed High-Speed Rail project that aims to connect the major east coast cities, all require skilled Civil, Structural, Electrical and Environmental Engineers, just to name a few.
The engineering roles and projects highlighted here firmly underscore the robust demand and rewarding compensation opportunities available here in Australia. There is no doubt that as the momentum in infrastructure and energy initiatives continues to speed ahead, the need for top-tier engineering talent will also continue to surge.
If you’re ready to capitalise on these opportunities, aligning with a trusted industry partner is paramount. Here at Patch Personnel, we’re at the forefront of the engineering recruitment industry with specific expertise in Oil & Gas, Mining and Construction.
For further employment insights about these dynamic sectors, or if you would like to peruse the range of open engineering roles available, please connect with one of our specialists. We’d love to help.
*Figures accessed via SEEK.