Breakdown by State of What’s Going on in the Defence Industry

By Kinexus on 4 April 2019

Today we’re releasing the fifth edition of the Defence Industry Insights –  AKA DII5.

One thing on everyone’s minds is how the changes happening throughout the Industry will look across each state. Where is the work? What states need what talent? What workforce competition/shortage will there be with so much happening?

Have a read of our snippets below to get a simple breakdown of what’s happening state-by-state in 2019. To get the full comprehensive industry report, download the Kinexus Defence Industry Insights – Fifth Edition.


The main source of demand for people in New South Wales (NSW) is the naval sustainment work going on in Sydney. With both the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) and Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) going on at once, there is a dire need for waterfront engineering skills, and as well as complex engineering assessment and planning skills.

Both the State and Federal governments have been throwing some pretty serious money around lately, creating competition for the Defence Sector for people with engineering and Project Management Office (PMO) skill sets. You only have to walk down George Street to realise that transport and infrastructure – like the Light Rail project – won’t be slowing down any time soon. We’re also seeing a glut in commercial property construction; another strong contender for defence-relevant workers.

[The arrival of the first (Joint Strike Fighter) JSF in Williamtown heralds a new and ongoing requirement for technology workers with high-security level clearances.]


Demand is still going strong for engineering and Information Communications Technology (ICT) experts in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Kinexus expects that various ongoing security operations and professional services will support the need for ICT security related skill sets.

It is likely that the new Defence Support Services (DSS) Panel – born in April last year – will soon release a series of Integrated Work Packages (IWPs). These long-term pieces of work are sure to drive demand for engineering, PMO, and commercial workers from the day they’re awarded across 2019.

ICT people will be feeling particularly popular this year, as the new Information and Communications Technology Provider Arrangements (ICTPA) and ERP transformation projects come into play. This might be a lateral move for those coming from government, as the state departments move to downsize their contracted ICT workforce significantly.


In Victoria (VIC), the Naval communications and combat systems will find themselves in strong competition for workers with the various Rail and air traffic management projects going on in Melbourne. So far, the Naval sector has won work on the three major Naval acquisition projects to be awarded for 2019, with recruitment activity already in the works. On top of this, Naval will need to maintain their concurrent engineering sustainment workforce.

VIC will also see strong demand in the Land sector for both above and below the line engineering and design people. With the Australian Defence Force (ADF) pilot training relocating to the Royal Australia Airforce (RAAF) Base East Sale, demand will surge for aerospace training and sustainment skill sets.

Software skills are wanted by defence and many other industries, particularly ICT security workers.


High demand: short supply. That’s what comes to mind for many working in the Defence Sector in South Australia (SA), with some organisations already finding it difficult to access quality candidates with the necessary skills in software and systems engineering. A good thing for job seekers, but not so much for the companies looking in need of their skill sets.

When it comes to the Defence Sector, it seems Adelaide is the place to be. Demand is strong for all types of defence-related skills and experience, thanks to major concurrent projects such as JORN Ph6, SEA 5000, and SEA 1000.

All signs point to Adelaide becoming a new tech hub for the country, with Australia soon to welcome our very own Space Agency, and Adelaide serving as the hub for our inter-galactical ambitions. Many companies within the Defence Industry are set to open an office in the Adelaide Central Business District (CBD), moving away from their traditional focus on the northern suburbs. This move is set to improve employers’ access to candidates. Kinexus also expects to see significant churn in aerospace sustainment, due to the transition of the P-3 Aircraft to the P-8.

Thinking longer-term, the Naval Shipbuilding College (NSC) will continue working to coordinate the efforts of tertiary and vocational education and training (VET) organisations to build the next generation of Naval shipbuilders; this is unlikely to have any impact on worker supply in 2019.


One thing Adelaide won’t be hogging from the rest of us is the construction of the new Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), which will transition in 2020 from SA to Western Australia (WA). Demand in WA is therefore sure to increase for workers with submarine sustainment experience.

For the first time in nearly ten years, the three largest Resource sector companies will commence construction in large capital projects all at the same time. Totalling a combined spend of approximately ten billion dollars, these organisations will be looking to build a construction army of 6,500 workers. Kinexus predicts that this will have an impact on the availability of production and PMO workers for Defence Industry projects, with work on the submarine sustainment and ship construction projects expected to commence at around the same time.


In the sunny state, construction on the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) project commenced in 2018. Queensland (QLD) will also be home to the engineering and production workforce for LAND 400 Ph2 from 2022, with hiring already underway, and many workers being recruited internally for initial training in Europe.

Demand for aerospace sustainment skills is looking to be on par with the previous year, although obsolescence management of the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) may cause a spike in demand for avionics engineers. Further, there may be a need for more workers for the C-27 sustainment facility, as the RAAF transitions the work to Brisbane from Sydney.

The Defence Sector finds itself up against the Rail industry in QLD as in other states, while other adjacent industries are also jostling for the attention of those with engineering, PMO, and ICT skill sets.


Up north, Defence Industry hiring activity has remained steady from 2018. The main sources of defence activity within the Northern Territory (NT) stem from the Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPB) sustainment and general garrison support programs. Kinexus is not expecting significant changes to workforce demand in the Territory across the rest of 2019.


Up next in Kinexus’ Defence Industry Insights summaries, we get into the nitty-gritty of employers’ hiring intentions, gender diversity, skills in demand, and the state of play for the defence SME market.

Want the whole cake? Click here to download your FREE copy of the Defence Industry Insights – Fifth Edition.

DII5 Download

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A Wrap-Up of What's Happening Across Our Defence Sectors

By Kinexus on 21 March 2019
Kinexus are ready to release the latest edition of our Defence Industry Insights, a bi-annual publication we spend six months collating, scrutinizing, and interpreting for the benefit of the Defence community. In the Defence Industry Insights – Fifth Edition, we take a deep dive into current trends and activity happening within the Defence Sector, as well as the future of things to come. It’s an interesting time for the Defence Industry. With a Federal election looming, multiple projects all on the go at once, and increased competition for skilled workers from adjacent industries, there’s a lot of pressure on our already limited talent pool. With most acquisition programs aware, clients are facing added challenges around workforce supply and demand. As a whole, the industry is moving towards greater integration and collaboration, but within each sector there are unique roles and actions that impact its trends and requirements. To understand how these changes affect you, Kinexus has provided a snapshot of what’s happening in each sector.
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