Australia’s energy sector continues to operate within the context of a challenging environment. In Queensland vacancy activity has reduced and redundancies have been occurring over the last six months.
In Western Australia a level of uncertainty remains, particularly within transmission and distribution. As a result employers are looking to engage more temporary employees, with the intention to move them into a permanent role depending on market conditions.
Employers now expect candidates with a higher level of experience and tickets.
In New South Wales employers are discussing upcoming projects. Most organisations involved in the transmission and distribution sector prefer to hire on a contract or temporary basis. The exception is accredited service providers that are picking up multiple projects from the utilities while they resolve their privatisation processes.
Meanwhile NSW’s power generation and renewable energy market remains steady if not busy, with businesses still working on some major projects. Most of the opportunities are with contractors or subcontractors working on a specific component of a larger scale project.
In Victoria both temporary and permanent roles have been available during the last quarter. A number of new projects have required Designers and Project Controllers, which has resulted in more temporary roles that could potentially become ongoing. Aside from the movement within the overhead and underground design projects, the industry has remained relatively flat.
Skills in demand
Senior Maintenance Planners (Power Generation) – With employers focusing on efficiency and maintenance, Planners and Schedulers with strong WA power station experience are in demand.
Power Station Operators – Greater investment in the maintenance of power stations has led to a need for candidates with these niche skills and experience on specific models.
Electrical Engineers - With several renewable projects in feasibility stages, Electrical Engineers with extensive microgrid experience are sought, particularly on a contract basis.
Regionally-based power generation staff - With a number of power generation employers looking to move away from the FIFO model for operations and maintenance staff, demand has emerged for both white and blue collar candidates who live regionally, particularly Assistant Plant Managers and Electrical OMTs in the North West.
New South Wales
Lineworkers - Work coming from the utilities is being given to accredited service providers to complete, and this is creating demand for Lineworkers.
HV Electricians – The ASP’s also require HV Electricians for the same reason.
Estimators - Estimators are needed since companies want to win the few projects being released and therefore require good candidates.
Design Engineers - These candidates are needed as a result of the continuing amount of URD projects in an expanding state. There is still a need for Overhead and Underground Line Designers.
Project Controllers - In a financially pressured market Project Controllers with expertise in scheduling and costing are needed to ensure that projects stay on time and on budget.
Surveyors - Good surveyors on the electrical side are needed for new build estates.
Candidates are more proactive in their use of LinkedIn. In addition, many are either refreshing their tickets or undertaking extra education and training at their own cost in order to become a more attractive candidate. Some are attempting to transfer their skills into the rail or building services sectors.
Candidates are now looking for jobs offering longevity and stability and are therefore more likely to take roles with an industry leader or an organisation with an excellent reputation over positions that may pay more but are with a smaller less established company.