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July – September 2016


In ACT local developers and international investors are contributing to growing confidence. High rise residential and mixed use commercial projects are the focus at present. The growing appetite to rejuvenate B and C grade buildings to attract both private and government tenants has seen fit-out and refurbishment contractors start to add headcount. As a result of activity Contract Administrators, Estimators, Project Managers and Site Managers with proven experience in delivering high rise commercial projects are in high demand but short supply.

Turning to Queensland, Brisbane is seeing a steady flow of roles coming through from the commercial sector. The residential high rise market has been very busy but as much of this work comes to an end the recruitment focus is shifting to finishes candidates such as Foremen/women and Defect Supervisors. Demand remains high for detached, affordable residential housing that is large enough to accommodate a family and is located in suburbs connected to public transport, and this will continue to keep the market busy.

In North Queensland the decrease in mining infrastructure work has seen skilled construction and engineering professionals start to leave the area for work in NSW and South East Brisbane. This net migration means that even though there are fewer roles in North Queensland than there once were, there are also now substantially less candidates in the market, especially for temporary roles.

As we saw in 2015, New South Wales’s construction market remains very busy. We are now over half way through the 2016 calendar year, and the new build commercial and residential markets remain incredibly busy. It is not uncommon for a construction company to contact us to recruit an entire new project team. The commercial fit out market in Sydney is similarly busy.

Given activity, a significant shortage of experienced candidates has emerged across the board and consequently there is incredibly high demand for both permanent and temporary positions. Skills are in demand from Project Managers, Contract Administrators and Estimators through to Forepersons and Site Managers.

As a result salaries and counter offers are increasing as employers attempt to attract and retain their staff. It is also very likely that candidates will be interviewing with a number of companies and multiple offers must be managed.

In South Australia we have seen greater positively in recent months and more permanent roles. Residential construction remains busy, and a recent decision to rezone sections of Glenelg in order to building five to 12 storey apartment complexes will fuel a need for Site Supervisors with experience in medium to high density builds. We have also seen a recent increase in demand for senior level managers. There’s also a steady flow of large commercial and infrastructure projects.

While the candidate pool has increased, the top talent is still in short supply. Builders are keen to secure experienced, commercially savvy candidates with strong residential experience. They also look for candidates who are a strong cultural fit with great presentation skills and above average technical skills.

In the Northern Territory the construction market is quiet, with the exception of INPEX. However the market is starting to pick up and vacancies are becoming available as a result of Department of Infrastructure spending, and design consultants suggest 2017 will be a busy year for everyone in the industry. The residential market continues to grow too, with a major focus on defence housing.

Western Australia’s building market is quite stable. New projects are being tendered, but a higher number of companies are tendering for them. In the commercial sector education, aged care and retail are the focus, while the civil market has shifted from subdivisions to infrastructure after the state government announced plans for a number of major developments.

There is a slight bias towards recruiting on a temporary basis.

Hotspots of demand

In the ACT Contracts Administrators who are degree qualified are highly sought after due to the number of building approvals for high density housing.

Project Managers with proven experience delivering multi-storey residential projects valued above $20 million are also needed.

Site Managers with proven experience delivering high-rise residential projects with a strong structural background through to facade and fit-out are another area of demand.

Estimators are also needed in response to the upgrade of B and C grade buildings in Canberra and increasing packages of work being released by government. Employers want experienced commercial candidates with fit-out and refurbishment experience.

In Brisbane Contracts Administrators and Estimators are in high demand. Foremen/women are also in demand as high-rise residential projects near completion and require finishes candidates.

Site Managers and Project Managers are needed too.

In North Queensland Project Managers are required for building and civil projects.  Project Engineers, Civil Designers, Site Managers and Contracts Administrators are also sought.

In New South Wales, and as noted above, experienced candidates are in demand across the board. This ranges from Project Managers, Contract Administrators and Estimators through to Forepersons and Site Managers.

In South Australia we are seeing high demand for Site Supervisors with experience in medium to high density builds due to upcoming residential apartment projects. A Site Supervisor’s reputation is very important, as is experience since few builders have the resources to train candidates up into this role.

Also in demand are Customer support/administrators and Draftspersons.

Senior Site Managers are needed, but there is a shortage of highly skilled candidates with exposure to large value projects.

Project Managers with multi-storey exposure are also required. Only recently has Adelaide started to grow its high rise builds, and thus there is a shortage of local candidates with suitable experience.

Within commercial construction we are seeing high demand for Contract Administrators, however there is a shortage of candidates with five or more years of pure construction experience.

Commercial Estimators are also sought and are a continuous area of demand.

In the Northern Territory Project Managers are in high demand, as are Civil Engineers and Project Engineers.

Turning to Western Australia, demand exists for Civil Estimators, Contract Estimators and Business Development Managers.

Candidate trends

Candidates are looking for work-life balance and an organisation where they can continue their career as opposed to just do a job.

Estimators with procurement experience are becoming very valuable to small builders.

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