Industry Insights

This month’s Industry Insights features the projected and historical growth of Rail workforce since 2005 against the backdrop of population growth and increased funding for infrastructure expansion.


Source: IBISWorld Reports on Rail Freight Transport, Rail Passenger Transport, Railway Track Construction.


The workforce in the Rail infrastructure, passenger services, and freight services sectors has grown consistently over the past 12 years.

Passenger services, which already comprise the largest occupational component of the rail workforce, is forecast to have the largest growth from 32,000 workers in 2018 to almost 36,000 in 2023. This rise is in line with the anticipated population growth in Australia, projected to increase to 30 million by 20301. The growing population demands more infrastructure and transportation. The freight workforce has shown a moderate, but consistent growth from 13,000 in 2005 to 14,000 in 2018. As commodity export will increase by two-thirds in the next decade, the freight workforce is also anticipated to grow to 15,000 in the next five years.

Australia has also seen a considerable growth in the rail infrastructure workforce, which has more than doubled from 6000 to over 12,000 in the past 12 years, and is expected to grow to more than 13,000 by 2023.

The increased funding ($100 billion) from the Australian Federal and State / Territory governments for new projects and upgrades is indicative of more career opportunities in the rail industry. There is a growing demand for train drivers, signalling technicians, trainers and assessors, train controllers, and track workers.

1 Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (2014) Trends, Infrastructure and Transport to 2030. Australian Government.