Now that federal and state elections are behind us, business is continuing as usual. The civil market remains the main focus of Australia’s engineering sector, with considerable infrastructure development already taking place or on the drawing board across the public and private sectors, particularly in NSW but also Queensland, Victoria and the ACT. Demand for civil talent is expected to continue for the next three to five years.
In New South Wales specifically, infrastructure is accounting for the most engineering vacancy activity, and is also having an indirect impact on the wider engineering industry since skills are being attracted to infrastructure projects, leaving other teams short staffed.
Roads and highways were the focus of the last 12 months with West Connex, W2B and RMS Maintenance contracts taking up a lot of focus.
Now the focus is starting to shift to rail and tunnel (civil structural) thanks to projects such as the Sydney and Parramatta Light rail, NWRL and Sydney Metro.
Employers increasingly want candidates who understand various entities and how they function, for example RMS for roads and Sydney Water for utilities. However we have seen a number of firms employ skilled individuals with little Sydney experience when the salary is right and they can demonstrate loyalty.
More employers of various sizes are getting the chance to work on RMS projects, which is increasing staff demand even more. We have seen a lot more interest in our Hays Globalink service to source overseas candidates with various skill sets.
Candidates with strong engineering backgrounds and a command of relevant software packages are quickly secured, even if they lack local experience. We are also seeing demand in building services across MEP.
In Victoria the building services market is extremely buoyant. Residential and commercial developments are keeping the consultancy and contractor market very busy.
Civil subdivision is busy too thanks to the booming residential sector and cadastral surveying. There are also road and highway projects up and coming.
The infrastructure market in Victoria is set to pick up, with the Melbourne Metro, Western Distributor and Level Crossing Removal Projects just some of the projects that have been announced.
In ACT, there has been an increase in the level of job creation within the building services discipline due to candidates changing roles and natural turnover increasing.
In Queensland, the resources downturn has seen many companies look for work in new areas such as civil infrastructure. As a result companies are focusing on recruiting project-winning candidates such as skilled Civil Engineers, Drafters and Designers with experience working on local or state authority projects.
In addition, both NSW and Victoria require these skills but offer a higher salary, and are therefore attracting Queensland candidates who are prepared to relocate. This is creating a huge local skills shortage.
Meanwhile candidates working in civil design and drafting for urban developments, roads and highways are never without work, while Structural Engineers are able to find positions. So too can building services candidates since commercial and large residential construction projects still require their expertise.
In South Australia large commercial and infrastructure projects are creating some vacancy activity for engineering professionals.
Hotspots of demand
In the Northern Territory Civil & Structural Design Engineers, Revit Drafters, CAD Operators and 12D Operators with relevant infrastructure experience are all in high demand.
In the ACT increased building services job creation has created demand for Mechanical Engineers and Fire Protection Engineers.
Also in demand are Civil Engineers in land development due to the amount of land development currently taking place in Canberra.
In New South Wales the active infrastructure market is creating high demand for Civil Engineers with roads and urban development experience.
12D Designers are in such high demand for urban developments that some employers are offering flexible working conditions as best they can, and as many or as few days as possible in order to engage a wider workforce.
Facade and Post-Tensioning Engineers are also sought as existing buildings are renovated or made structurally sound.
Hydraulics Engineers and Consultants are also sought. Within building services more candidates want to work in mechanical or electrical engineering. The lack of a hydraulics degree also adds to the skill shortage in this area. We continue to see a lot of plumbers become Hydraulics Consultants.
Revit Drafters and Modellers are in demand too. Revit remains the most used BIM tool and candidates that know how to use Revit to build models quickly in detail and also change and adapt them are in high demand. Revit users are working on projects across the industry, from infrastructure to complex high rise residential and commercial projects, and remain in very high demand.
In Victoria, good candidates are in short supply. Employers want Engineers with sound technical knowledge who can consult and manage clients, and such candidates are in short supply
Highways, Bridge and Tunnel Engineers are also in demand as are individuals with MicroStation and 12D experience.
In South Australia consultancies are seeking Drafters with skills in 12D and Revit for temporary assignments. The exception is for highly skilled 12D Drafters who are more likely to be offered a permanent role. Candidates with only AutoCAD behind them find it difficult to secure a permanent role.
Senior Structural Engineers and Senior Civil Engineers with Adelaide consultancy experience are also sought by consultancies for permanent roles.
In Queensland Civil Designers, Civil Drafters and Civil Engineers are in high demand for numerous projects. With these candidates also in demand in New South Wales and Victoria, where they can earn higher salaries, the pool of local talent is being depleted by candidates relocating interstate for work.
Structural Engineers are also sought to work on bridge designs and civil refurbishments, as well as in the residential space.
Hydraulic Engineers and Designers are needed in this state too, although this is a niche skill in short supply.
When looking for their next role, candidates often value team culture, projects and responsibility ahead of the salary on offer. Software-focused candidates also want further software exposure in order to up-skill, whether it be Revit, 12D or Civil 3D. If an organisation does not use the most relevant software, then candidates will often look elsewhere.
Some candidates also have relevant software packages on their own laptops and are upskilling themselves in their own time.