Sharing our expertise


October - December 2016


In the ACT, local developers and international investors are still contributing to growing confidence. High rise residential and mixed use commercial projects continue to be the focus. The civil market is becoming busier due to more land being released by the ACT government which has seen civil contractors starting to increase their headcount. As a result of activity, Contract Administrators, Civil Forepersons, Project Managers and Site Managers with proven experience in residential, commercial or civil are in high demand but short supply.

Brisbane's detached housing market is one of the strongest in the country due to affordable land in suburbs close to the city and large parcels of development sites that are able to be developed into all inclusive communities. This is causing a high demand for domestic professionals such as Production & Sales Estimators as well as Supervisors. This growth in the suburbs is driving the commercial market which is seeing an increase in community infrastructure development such as retail, healthcare, aged care and townhouse construction, all feeding tier 2 and 3 builders’ pipelines. Overall there is high demand for Contracts Administrators with commercial experience, and a marked shortage of Estimators with local subcontractor knowledge with a number of mid tier business actively recruiting.

The North Queensland construction market is stabilising after the decrease in mining infrastructure. With the government helping to stimulate the economy the civil market is now picking up whilst commercial construction remains slow but steady. Net migration of skilled Engineers and Construction professionals from North QLD to southern metropolitan areas over the last 18 months is now starting have a more apparent impact as companies start to rebuild their team. Expect to see an increase in salary demands as the market starts to turn and competition for the best talent increases.

The New South Wales construction market remains very busy especially the new build commercial and residential markets. We’ve been contacted by construction companies to recruit entire new project teams. Similarly, the commercial fit out market in Sydney is also 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. Project Managers, Contract Administrators and Estimators through to Forepersons and Site Managers are in demand. As a result salaries and counter offers are increasing as employers attempt to attract and retain talent. It is also very likely that candidates will be interviewing with a number of companies and multiple offers must be managed.

In South Australia, the commencement of multiple major civil projects is creating dramatically increased demand for experienced Project Engineers and Supervisors for both tier 1 and 2 contractors. This situation will only continue as SA Water’s latest packages are awarded and the Northern Connector kicks off next year. As the available candidate pool decreases, salaries are already beginning to rise.

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. With lots of noise around Defence spend, the next 12 months should see considerably more work, especially for project managers and site-based supervisors both in the build and civil markets.

Western Australia’s building market remains 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. We are noticing a slight bias towards recruiting on a temporary basis. Demand exists for Civil Estimators, Contract Estimators and Business Development Managers.

In Tasmania, engineering construction spend has dropped in all disciplines except for telecommunications, where the NBN rollout and phone tower investments lead the way. The amount of building works yet to commence has increased and is at high levels. This is reflected in the Hobart skyline which continues to be transformed with long-term approved projects starting to take shape. Current key developments include Parliament Square, Hobart Hospital redevelopment and Myer Stage 2 and Stage 1 completion. Whilst domestic dwelling construction is down, the state government has extended the first home builders grant to off-set this. All commercial building trades are currently in demand in Hobart. Launceston in comparison is witnessing solid engineering construction spend which is clearly visible across a broad platform of highway construction and expansions. Commercial building construction in Launceston is flat, with some investment in flood repair infrastructure throughout the north of the state yet to be realised.

We have seen Melbourne's record breaking levels of residential development continue to surge. Levels of construction in Melbourne are currently at their highest point since 2002 when the initiation of this data commenced. As the Melbourne population continues to grow, so does the pressure on construction and infrastructure. More than half of the dwellings under construction in Melbourne are in the central suburbs. As it stands, there are 31,000 residential dwellings with planning approved and another 25,000 applications lodged across the city. Retail development is on the rise seeing a drastic growth in comparison to 2015, whilst the rate of office space development has seen a decrease since last year. Other areas to watch are hotels with over 5,000 rooms currently approved and student accommodation with 1,840 student beds with confirmed planning approval. With the construction of the Australia 108 skyscraper underway, Melbourne is set to have the tallest skyline nationally. With plans underway to increase the skyline with seven new towers above 268m, two are already under construction. Rapid population growth has created a significant challenge to provide transport and infrastructure to support these dense communities. Due to the delayed action in providing such solutions, we have now fallen behind with $6.2 billion in crucial rail projects yet to be confirmed.

Hotspots of demand

In the ACT Contracts Administrators who are degree qualified are still highly sought after across both the residential and commercial construction sectors.

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.

Also in demand are civil forepersons with demonstrable subdivision experience.

In Brisbane Contracts Administrators and Estimators are in high demand. Forepersons are also in demand as high-rise residential projects near completion and require finishes professionals. 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, 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 an area of continuous 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 employer where they can progress their career as opposed to just perform a job.

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

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