Part 1 of 2: The construction and engineering recruitment industry overview.

Somehow it’s already December, and while there’s still some time to go, we can take a deep breath and look back at how our industry has fared across this turbulent year, including the impact of the global pandemic.

CGC in Focus, FY21 Q1 and Q2, the story so far.

Overall, the construction sector has performed better than many other Australian industries. We’ve seen our clients continue to grow and recruit for strategic roles, and to make the most out of changing market opportunities. The standout performers have been within the infrastructure space, particularly rail and transport on the back of massive government investment.

Construction Engineering Industry Overview

In Engineering, Data Centres/Mission Critical were both in short supply of talent, while Defence projects continue to perform strongly on the back of unprecedented government investment. In Queensland, road and rail/transport engineering design have been busy due to the State government’s push to build a better transport network.

  • Urban design and landscape architecture were active in Sydney, fuelled by the infrastructure boom and forward planning for satellite cities to meet the needs of the growing population.
  • In Building Services, government money has been focused on schools and health infrastructure, with consultancies capitalising on these areas. Another key area is upgrading NSW’s aged care facilities.
  • The aviation space had a lot of work around Sydney Airport’s continuing development and the next building phase for the Western Sydney airport.

Celebrating 10 Years of CGC Recruitment

What our sector thankfully hasn’t experienced during the COVID crisis is wholesale layoffs and redundancies. There has been some downsizing in the construction sectors, influenced by the stage that companies were at in their lifecycle of projects and staff numbers. And sectors such as architecture have struggled with on-again-off-again projects, largely linked to project financing issues.

But in the strong engineering space, where expertise is reliant on its people’s technical knowledge, companies not only retained their staff, but some made strategic hires using both remote onboarding and working. This was potentially fuelled by an already skill-short market and the continuing uncertainty around travel and work visas.

 

What should companies and candidates be focusing on after the holiday break?

After surviving 2020’s wild ride, companies are looking ahead to deliver growth and profits in 2021. Focus on putting in place the right people and systems that get you there quicker.

You should have a clear business plan which minimises current risk and positions you for a strong as possible a year ahead while the world waits for the COVID vaccines to emerge from development.

For candidates, this year has been an opportunity for reflection. A chance to pause and think about your professional and financial ambitions, the value you can bring to your current or next employer, and the type of projects and business you want to work with.

Many candidates have been risk-averse about moving positions over the past six months, highly valuing their job security. Others have taken the opportunity to make good money on short-term contracts. Candidates who had a poor employment experience during COVID are more likely to move on next year.

Over the traditional holiday period take the time to think through your own goals. Is money the big factor, or can you forego financial rewards in favour of making a long-term career plan that will provide you with invaluable professional experience, support and training?

It's rare to get both big money, and professional development - with a high salary comes expectations for delivery. In 2021, try to align your goals with a business that shares your values and can offer you the opportunities you are seeking.

 

Conclusion

At the height of the crisis, strategic recruitment vision was quite low on the priority list for many of our clients. They were busy with changing day-to-day operations, keeping projects moving, workforce planning and trying to help their clients. However, we now know that as COVID restrictions are rolling back, recruitment has moved to the top of the agenda.

As we move out of recession in December and the country focuses on growth, it’s clear that for many in our industries, the crisis will continue to drive growth. For other industries, of course, the future will be extremely challenging, and there are still some big political, economic and environmental uncertainties.

There are some collective hopes, however, around some of these, for example:

  • The Australian Government’s involvement in the industry;
  • Improved local supply chains; and,
  • The adoption of improved technologies to support new ways of working.

McKinsey coined the term, “the next normal”, and that currently feels very apt for the construction, infrastructure, engineering, project management and government sectors. We’ve all had to find our feet quickly as business leaders’ grapple with constant changes and their implications, which will only become clear over time.

That’s where companies like CGC can help our clients achieve the best outcomes by recruiting outstanding professionals.

CGC Recruitment Cost Calculator Tool

Our highly-motivated team of experienced consultants help clients and candidates connect with major projects by bringing in the best talent and opportunities. If you’re looking for the right team member, get in touch with CGC, and one of our experienced consultants will be happy to help.

If you’re looking for your next career opportunity, you can register with CGC today. Simply complete our online registration, which takes just 30 seconds. Or if you’re looking for something in particular, contact us or search our jobs.

To be involved in projects or to attract candidates that are changing and improving Australia’s infrastructure, connect with CGC today.