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ANZSCO 2322-12 South Australia

Surveyor April 2018


Current labour market rating: Shortage
Previous labour market rating (March 2017): No Shortage

Comments
Overall, employers were unable to attract sufficient suitable applicants to fill their vacancies. There is a shortage
of surveyors in South Australia.

Survey results1
• Businesses surveyed were generally consultancy firms providing services across a range of specialisations
including engineering, land (cadastral) and mining surveying.
◦ Some employers specialised in one discipline, for example, engineering surveying.
• Most vacancies were for engineering surveyors; however, some employers sought both engineering and
cadastral qualifications, skill and experience.
• Substantially fewer vacancies were filled in 2018, than last year (47 per cent, compared with 80 per cent in
2017).
• On average, there were significantly fewer applicants (5.9 compared with 10.4 in 2017), qualified applicants
(0.9 compared with 6 in 2017) and suitable applicants (0.9 compared with 2.4 in 2017) than last year.
Regional employers reported lower applicant numbers than employers in the metropolitan area.
• Employers stated that due to a high volume of government infrastructure projects underway, most
surveyors are working and are not looking for work. Some employers stated that once qualified, many
surveyors start their own firms or move interstate for better remuneration, which affects labour supply.

Employers’ Requirements
• Employers seeking surveyors with cadastral skills required applicants to have degree qualifications. 2
• Alternately, employers stated the minimum standard of education for an engineering surveyor is a Diploma
of Surveying, rather than a bachelor’s degree.

Unsuitable applicants
• A high proportion of applicants were unqualified, and therefore unsuitable.

1 The methodology underpinning this research is outlined at Skill Shortage Research Methodology | Department of Jobs and Small
Business - Document library, Australian Government and can also be accessed by the QR code.
2 To qualify for licensing with the Surveyors Board of South Australia and work as cadastral surveyors, degree qualified graduates must

complete a post-graduate course in surveying followed by a minimum of 400 hours of practical experience (including 200 hours of
cadastral work) under the guidance of a licensed surveyor. They must also complete a cadastral surveying project.

Labour Economics Office South Australia


Department of Jobs and Small Business
• Some applicants lacked the technical skill and experience employers required. Examples of this included:
◦ No multi-storey high rise skill and experience
◦ No cadastral surveying skill and experience
◦ Not having cadastral, construction and pre-cast experience and skill.

Demand and supply trends


• Approximately 62 per cent of surveyors in South Australia are employed in the professional, scientific and
technical services industry with approximately 13 per cent employed in construction and 10 per cent in the
mining industry.
• Demand for surveyors is mainly driven by activity in the civil engineering and building construction
industries, and growth in land development.
• A number of major civil construction projects are presently underway in South Australia, due to the South
Australian’s state government’s 2016 and 2017 budgets, which mandated record spending on infrastructure
($12.1 and $9.5 billion, respectively, over 4 years). 3
• Recent demand for surveyors has been strong due to growth in engineering and building construction
activity.
◦ The value of engineering construction activity increased by approximately 33 per cent in 2017. Most of
the increases related to electricity transmission, generation and pipelines, and roads, highways and
subdivisions. 4
◦ The value of building work done increased by approximately 10 per cent in 2017. 5
◦ The value of building approvals, which provides an indication of future demand, increased by
approximately four per cent in the year to March 2018. 6
• The number of South Australian internet advertised vacancies for surveyors increased by approximately two
thirds in the 12 months to March 2018, however, the increase was off a low base. 7
• In spite of the growth in civil engineering and building construction, in 2016, Greenfield lot production in
South Australia remained steady (2269 lots released compared with 2252 in 2015). The Urban Development
Institute of Australia stated the lack of growth was concerning in the context of buoyant broader Australian
market activity, noting low demand was due to consistently low population growth in South Australia. 8
• In terms of labour supply, the South Australian surveying workforce is relatively small, and appears to be
decreasing. The ABS 2016 Census indicated there were 410 surveyors employed in South Australia, which is
approximately 10 per cent less than reported in the 2011 census.
◦ In 2017, there were 135 registered and licensed cadastral surveyors in South Australia, compared with
139 in 2016, 142 in 2015 and 145 in 2014. 9

3 Government of South Australia, statebudget.sa.gov.au


4 ABS, Engineering Construction Activity, Australia, Cat. No. 8762.0
5 ABS, Building Activity, Australia, Cat. No. 8752.0
6 ABS, Building Approvals, Australia, Cat. No. 8731.0
7 Department of Jobs and Small Business, Internet Vacancy Index, March 2018, 12 month moving average.
8 Urban Development Institute of Australia, National State of the Land Report, 2017
9 Surveyors Board of South Australia, Annual Report, June 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Labour Economics Office South Australia


Department of Jobs and Small Business