As construction in Sydney ramps up and building firms become busier, they are doing all they can to hold on to highly-valued staff. Some employers are now increasing salaries and offering project bonuses to prevent quality staff from being poached by competitors. Companies are also finding it challenging to attract high calibre staff.
As the industry becomes busier employees are doing more overtime, and this often involves weekend work. This has resulted in more people leaving permanent salaried positions for contract roles that offer more attractive pay and a better work/life balance.
Companies are winning several projects at a time and are therefore becoming increasingly dependent on a contracting workforce to assist them in meeting the demands of their heavier workloads.
Companies are also in the process of recruiting key permanent staff to assist with further growth and manage the newly awarded projects. A trend we have noticed is for companies to upskill their workforce. Many are looking to hire candidates that come from a larger tier builder or have experience with bigger projects.
We are starting to see more hiring of overseas Engineers in the construction industry, especially candidates with exposure to large commercial and residential projects valued at over $60 million. The fit out and refurbishment sector is also starting to recruit Site Supervisors and Site Managers from the UK and Ireland to oversee high-end fit outs.
Employers are looking for staff that have potential to progress through their company and ultimately become Site Managers and/or Project Managers. By recruiting key people now, they are hoping that new hires can be promoted to management teams in two to three years’ time.
We continue to see improvements in the construction sector in Queensland, notably in the building of residential developments. Despite some of the negative news, we continue to see construction related recruitment activity in the mining industry, specifically in Mackay and Mt Isa.
The Perth construction market remains stable with several commercial-sized projects underway. However, there has been a very clear shift from commercial builds to high rise residential developments and refurbishment projects. Other than a handful of major projects, this trend is set to continue over the next quarter.
In terms of skills in demand for the April – June 2015 quarter, we’re seeing a high demand for Residential Forepersons in the high rise residential sector.
With Tier 1 and 2 builders working on ever larger projects, Project and Site Engineers with high rise residential experience are highly sought.
Estimators who can help deliver a cost effective product by quoting and obtaining material for building and residential construction projects at a competitive price are in high demand.
An increase in demand from buyers of new houses in South-East Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia has created a number of opportunities for Residential Building Supervisors in those states.
As always, Quantity Surveyors are in high demand and working holiday visa candidates are securing work in this sector very quickly.
Commercial construction is on the increase, especially in high rise residential buildings, creating demand for experienced Commercial Contract Administrators. Contract Administrators are required for legal paperwork, subcontractor management and building materials procurement to ensure the project remains profitable.
In terms of candidate trends, we are seeing more people requesting to know exactly what overtime is required from them and this is being negotiated prior to the acceptance of a role.
It is becoming easier for candidates with working holiday visas and top-tier experience to secure work in Sydney on a long-term contract with a view to gaining sponsorship.