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Finding and retaining the right Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) project manager can be difficult.  However, in industries where precision, safety, and skill are of the utmost importance, hiring an appropriate MEP project manager is essential.  

Having said that, challenges - like the pandemic and its induced economic crisis, labour shortages, and reduced migration numbers - means adjusting your expectations or considering alternative recruitment solutions for your organisation.

This article outlines some solutions to consider. 


1. Upskilling and mentoring for the future

Upskilling engineers and site managers might be a viable option by providing skill diversity and staff advancement opportunities. This could be achieved via mentoring by senior employees to teach their team new skills.

Many companies are making this strategy a priority due to emerging and dynamic technology trends. It includes:

  • Identifying learning gaps - Ask employees to fill in self-evaluation surveys to identify their strengths and weaknesses, specifically to their role. Ensure the survey includes questions about both soft and hard skills, so mentors can create a plan accordingly. 
  • Setting up mentoring goals - Once assessments are done, identify the  short-term goals to close the immediate gaps and long-term goals to achieve a specific outcome, like nurturing an employee for a leadership role. 

While there is an opportunity to upskill to meet the requirements of the continuously evolving MEP sector, be aware that this takes time. There are no guarantees of finding the perfect fit or success.

Top mechanical, electrical and plumbing candidates

2. Team Matching

Another way to find the perfect MEP project manager is to create one through team matching.  Unique individuals with diverse skill sets, like a strong site manager and a qualified engineer, can be combined to achieve better outcomes.

While these two roles are very different, they can work together to provide success in any major construction or engineering project. They can evaluate problems and consider solutions through varying perspectives. 


3. Pay to retain

In a world where demand is greater than supply, undervaluing candidates can make top tier project managers compelled to look elsewhere for work. And there are plenty of opportunities out there.  While you might be tempted to save on your bottom line, underpaying staff can lead to them feeling devalued. Ultimately, this may result in resentment and a high turnover rate.  

Since project management professionals are always in high demand, it’s important to keep across salary trends.  


Challenges to the MEP sector 

New data has shown the role of a project manager is the most sought after among British jobseekers. And with the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement recently signed in June 2021, this may allow access to their talent pools.  

One core element and benefit of the trade agreement is that it’ll be easier for Brits to travel and work in Australia, which provides greater opportunities for UK professionals to work here. Other benefits include:

  • the increase of age eligibility from 30 to 35 years of age
  • stays allowed for up to three years, and 
  • people having more freedom to choose where they work.

However, it will be at least a year before the free-trade agreement starts to deliver any benefits to exporters. The agreement also indicates that working visas benefit primary industries, like the agricultural sector.   

Furthermore, Australia is currently suffering a skilled worker shortage and a lack of skilled workers from offshore to plug the gap.  Reduced migration opportunities, exacerbated by the COVID border restriction, will continue to be an issue unless vaccinated skilled workers are provided with exemptions.

Although engineers are on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), reduced/capped daily and weekly visitor numbers means overseas talent pool opportunities are limited.



Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing project managers are a special breed, requiring both technical proficiency and people skills. While finding this combination mightn’t come easy, there are strategies available to find and/or retain the perfect candidate for your business.  

Here at CGC Recruitment, our team of experienced consultants will work with you to navigate through any challenges by attracting the best candidates for your business.


About CGC Recruitment 

CGC Recruitment is a specialist construction, infrastructure, engineering, and architecture recruitment consultancy. We view our clients as our partners and work closely with them to meet their business needs. We work with some of Australia’s largest construction brands, as well as specialist SMEs and boutique consultants. We have proven experience delivering permanent, contract and retained recruitment solutions, consistently providing the right candidates for the right roles at the right time.

If you have an active role you’d like to discuss or just want to talk to a specialist consultant, please contact us. Alternatively, you can complete our online client form and a member of our team will contact you.