Improving rail workforce data

Our research program is helping to fill the gaps in rail workforce data to better understand and address critical skills challenges across the sector.

Rail skills supply and demand forecasts 2022-2032

In partnership with he Australasian Railway Association, we have developed  a rail workforce capability study providing an updated national picture of the rail skills challenge. This includes construction and maintenance activity. 

Determining future demand, supply and skills gaps for the Australian and New Zealand rail workforce: 2022-2032 breaks down the latest data by role and jurisdiction, highlighting where and when skills gaps are likely to occur.

The study identifies key threats to workforce capability and what industry and governments can do to meet the challenges of delivering on rail infrastructure projects.

A 10-year forecast notes that skills shortages are expected to remain high for the next decade at least, with the biggest impact being felt along the eastern seaboard. 

The total skills gap is expected to reach 15,670 employees in 2027. Workforce shortages are then expected to ease slightly as several major rail infrastructure projects complete, before peaking at 16,590 employees in 2032.

More information is available in the full report and a highlights table.

A rail skills dashboard to help navigate the data can be found here.


Graph showing Australia and New Zealand's rail skills gap between 2016 and 2032. It shows greatest shortages in rail skills will occur in 2027 and 2032.



Updating Australia's rail skills training database

The National Rail Skills Hub is analysing up-to-date data to better identify who's training in specific rail skills, where they are being trained and who's paying for it.

We're using statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) to develop graphics and analyses reflecting the training environment for critical rail skills.

Full reports can be found in the Hub's Knowledge Centre


Infographics showing rail workforce data including who's training in rail skills, where they're being trained and who's paying for it.



National rail workforce forecasting tool

We're working with Jobs and Skills Australia to develop a national rail workforce forecasting tool.

The tool will draw from Australia’s infrastructure pipeline and the operations and maintenance needs of existing railway networks, to show the supply and demand of rail workers at any point in time across Australia. 

It can be used by governments and industry to assist with future project scheduling. And by the education sector to ensure enough workers are trained now to meet future demand. 


Rail yards with city background at sunset