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July - September 2015

Activity in commercial and residential property construction in Sydney continues to gather pace. Many offices are either moving out from the CBD into the Barangaroo area or are being refurbished for commercial or residential purposes.

As the Barangaroo towers reach completion, building owners are starting the first fit-outs in preparation for some of Australia's major banks, financial services and insurance companies to move into the area. Meanwhile, smaller professional services companies and boutique firms are mostly staying in the CBD, but are upgrading their office space by undergoing refurbishments.

Vacant offices that are not being leased are being converted from commercial into residential property. However, property groups are offering firms incentives to stay where they are.

Chinese investors continue to buy mostly multi-million dollar residential properties in Sydney, but we are starting to see more interest from them in commercial property investment as well.

In civil construction, employers are considering the option of offering sponsorship to candidates with infrastructure, rail and tunnel experience as such professionals are urgently needed in New South Wales.

Candidates are moving interstate for job opportunities, mainly from Western Australia and Queensland, and also transferring from the UK and Ireland. Often new employees from overseas will start on a contract basis and then be offered a permanent job and sponsorship upon completion of a trial period.

Relevant software knowledge and skills in areas such as Jobpac, Cheops, Buildsoft and MS Project are sought after.

In Victoria, activity levels remain high in the residential construction space and this is creating demand for experienced estimating, drafting and site management candidates.

Meanwhile in Queensland more candidates are becoming available due to the slowdown in the construction of mining and oil & gas projects. Employers that operate outside commercial areas are asking for candidates with broader skill sets as they do not have a large budget to employ multiple staff.

In the Northern Territory many skilled candidates have moved to other states. The INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG Project is still a major employer but contractors are having to fly-in fly-out skilled and technical professionals.

In terms of skills in demand for the July to September 2015 quarter, we’re seeing a high demand for client side Project Managers, Fit-Out Project Managers and Forepersons on a contract basis.

In certain areas there is a demand for multilingual candidates, especially for Project Managers who can speak Mandarin. These professionals can assure buyers from China when in the initial stages of managing a project.

In civil construction there is strong demand for Civil Project Managers, Project Engineers, Superintendents, Civil Safety staff and onsite civil construction professionals such as Project Managers, Forepersons and Site Supervisors.

As commercial construction increases, especially high-rise residential buildings, demand for experienced Commercial Contract Administrators is high. Contract Administrators are required for legal paperwork, subcontractor management and building materials procurement to ensure the project remains profitable.

Estimators remain in demand as they help deliver a cost effective product by quoting and obtaining material at a competitive price. Candidates are in high demand for project roles in the commercial, civil and infrastructure market.

As always, Quantity Surveyors are in high demand and working holiday visa candidates are securing work in this area very quickly.

In terms of candidate trends, people are increasingly considering the location of the project and the work-life balance that a role can offer. Candidates are becoming more selective and are looking beyond just the salary when considering a job offer.

Candidates are spending more time preparing their applications. Candidates who want to stand out are thoroughly researching companies and projects before applying. They are also using LinkedIn to research their interviewer before an interview.


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