Despite market and economic uncertainties, our experts believe that the construction and engineering sectors are well placed to continue playing a key role in the Australian economy as a job creator.
Construction and infrastructure have been a cornerstone of our economy for the last five years. There is an established pipeline of work, and we project additional investment will include further government funding for education, healthcare, schools, and aged care facilities.
This viewpoint has been formed and communicated through our inaugural “CGC In Focus” report. It delivers detailed input and sector predictions across our operating areas of Construction, Infrastructure, Engineering and Architecture, and Project Management, Consulting and Development. Want more?
Excellent opportunities in the post-COVID economy
There are excellent opportunities for organisations who can strike the right balance of clear strategy and risk management. Infrastructure, data centres, health care and industrial space, are the likely winners in the post-COVID world, as government bolsters its investment, creating jobs.
Winners will particularly be organisations with a good reputation and relationships in those busy sectors, or with a track record in ‘safer’ sectors like commercial, hospital, or retail fit-out markets that can attract senior talent. Consumer demand and a shift to more employees working from home will increase pressure on mission-critical infrastructure.
Skills shortages as the economy recovers will create some excellent candidate opportunities, as companies need to deliver works with local hires while Australia’s borders (internationally and domestically) remain closed. A reversal in fortunes is that experienced professionals will be among the many ex-patriate Australians relocating home at this time.
Small and shovel-ready
Smaller, ‘shovel-ready’ projects will be a clear winner as a driver of job creation, with the current environment creating opportunities for Australian-owned SMEs to deliver works up to $20M. As procurement and planning is less complex, smaller projects can be mobilised quickly – an important factor when the government is trying to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
Local contractors have mostly been shut out of the major infrastructure boom by the large international contractors, but these local operators have the good in-house capacity, are nimble and can deliver these projects more efficiently.
Recruitment strategies for success
Short-term survival plans that incorporate recruitment and cash flow management are the focus for just about everyone right now. Once these immediate priorities are addressed, we believe there will be a shift to strategic thinking as businesses take this one-off opportunity to reflect, revisit the business plan and look hard at where they want to be.
Specifically, where are the opportunities and investment going to be for the construction industry? Where is the market telling you that you need to be positioned? Take a holistic view of the business across all your systems, processes, people, and strategy and feed that into your hiring strategies.
“For those looking to come out strongly on the other side, it’s about striking the right balance between a clear strategy and managing your risk profile. You're not going to be able to be a winner if you're not prepared to take risks, including hiring the best people to grow your business,” says CGC’s Managing Director, Nick Curtis.
New South Wales
In NSW, infrastructure remains the driving force, with the significant pipeline and committed investment including the Metro rail network, Parramatta Light Rail, and major highways projects. Entering the next construction phase for some of these major projects means 2-3 years of ‘boots on the ground’ high activity ahead.
Another 3-4 big projects coming online for their construction phase will further increase the demand for talent. Sydney has been on the starter's line in anticipation, and companies have retained staff and built up capability to meet this demand.
Our Queensland focus is still very much on government-driven infrastructure work, so we welcome the Federal Government’s announcement of fast-tracked backing for the next phase of the huge Inland Rail project (among others).
Queensland’s upcoming October election is going to be a real turning point for the economy and how the state moves forward with some investments. Medium-term, there are going to be winners across the board in Brisbane, spearheaded by infrastructure.
The timing of when our local recovery will start is the million-dollar question. Many construction and infrastructure projects in development will proceed without major impact, driven by government spending and the market appetite.
The Federal Government is committed to stimulating the economy, and infrastructure is already identified as a priority within this effort. That stimulus is going to feed into our sectors, and we should be busy off the back of it.
“Smaller works are going to contribute strongly, and this is where I predict the additional stimulus and investment will be achieved, as opposed to just another major project,” says Curtis. “So, despite timing and COVID-19 factors beyond our industry’s control, I'm optimistic. The next financial year for CGC Recruitment and companies and industry professionals is looking strong.”
At CGC, we understand the big recruitment issues, and this depth of insight can give both our clients and candidates confidence to make the right decisions.
To get a full breakdown of key construction recommendations plus CGC’s view on the year ahead, download our full CGC in Focus Report.
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