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It’s time again for our annual CGC in Focus report, taking an in-depth look at the state of the nation, from a recruitment perspective… and what a year it has been! It’s no surprise that the outlook for the Australian, and international, economy is still being driven by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we have managed to dodge the recession bullet nationally, it’s our construction, engineering, and infrastructure sectors that are rebuilding Australia in thoroughly global, modern, and positive ways. As new jobs, new technologies and world-class infrastructure are being created, there are an abundance of opportunities, but also significant recruitment challenges.

Re-Building the Lucky Country: Australia's Construction and Infrastructure Recruitment Market

In this first of a two-part blog series introducing CGC in Focus 2.0, we’ll look at the state of both the national recruitment sector and our operating regions of New South Wales and Queensland.

In May 2020, the first instalment of JobKeeper had been paid to kick-start our economy. We recall some very difficult times and key events, however Australia’s economy demonstrated remarkable resilience, thanks to building and infrastructure, and rather surprisingly, retail. Click here to see how the full-time employment rate is recovering across Australia.

NSW’s resilient economy fuelled by ongoing investment 

In the NSW market, COVID-19 had a significant impact, but the economy proved resilient, leaving the state in a much stronger position. We saw a big rise in recruitment across all sectors and business sizes. Closed borders and a lack of mobility resulted in candidate shortages, while we saw a circa 12% increase in salaries compared to FY2019/20.

Where the investments are going:

  • Regional NSW continues to see investment in smaller-scale ($1M - $20M) road and infrastructure upgrades, with SME businesses dominating this space.
  • Large-scale projects such as Snowy Hydro 2.0 and Inland Rail are expected to draw on significant resources as they move deeper into their delivery phases.
  • Greater Sydney has been buoyed by significant investment in both major infrastructure projects and smaller government-backed, shovel-ready projects.
  • Committed future construction investment is providing market confidence, fuelled by record low interest rates and a return of developer appetite.

We foresee demand and competition for talent heating up across Greater Sydney. Talent will benefit from the competition for skills, with salaries rising and many specialist candidates turning to contracting to maximise their earning potential.

Check out more insights, trends, and stats on the state’s above-trend growth and the biggest recruitment challenges and opportunities in FY22.

Construction is Queensland is booming 

In our Queensland market, the economy is recovering, with the 2020-21 State Budget forecasting a return to marginal growth (up 0.25%) in 2020-21, before strengthening substantially to 3.5% in 2021-22.

While it is a state-wide concern, the engineering, construction, and associated sectors remain largely unaffected by underemployment. Construction is one of Queensland’s largest employers, providing $27.3 billion (8.1% of total output) in 2019-20, making it the State’s third largest contributor. See more economic and job data here.

Brisbane and the Gold Coast continue to be busy, with project starts and high market confidence underpinned by low interest rates and the recent boost of the Olympic Games 2032 hosting announcement.

This is resulting in high demand for site supervision, contracts, administration, and project management experience. And infrastructure projects such as Cross River Rail, and planning for the Inland Rail, are creating demand for Brisbane-based engineers and project managers. With South-east Queensland a desirable location due to its lifestyle and more affordable housing costs, we anticipate seeing interstate relocations filling skills gaps, depending on domestic border issues.

Demand for talent will continue be high on the back of market confidence, and you can find out more about the QLD market here.


This has been a difficult year for Australia. However, our sectors have fared better than most, which is set to continue as the economy recovers, as they are pivotal in its rebuilding.

Working in recruitment every day, with clients of all sizes and candidates at all levels, CGC has a unique perspective on the market challenges and opportunities being faced and how to resolve them. That’s why we started CGC in Focus, to help clients and candidates make better recruitment choices/decisions.

To download your copy of CGC n Focus 2.0 – (Re)Building the Lucky Country, just click below.

Re-Building the Lucky Country: Australia's Construction and Infrastructure Recruitment Market

In the second part of this blog series, we will offer our professional view on what to expect in the coming financial year across CGC’s areas of recruitment expertise - Infrastructure, Construction, Engineering & Architecture, and Project Management & Development.

About CGC 

CGC Recruitment is a specialist consultancy with offices in Sydney and Brisbane. We specialise in roles in the construction, infrastructure, engineering, and architecture sectors at all levels.

For a confidential discussion, get in touch with CGC and talk with one of our experienced consultants.


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