Demand and competition for talents: Australia’s construction and infrastructure sectors.

In the second part of our blog series introducing this year’s CGC in Focus report, we look back at the past fiscal year and share our predictions on what to expect in the coming year as the economy continues to recover.

 

Recruitment trends in our sectors 

Nationally across all infrastructure, construction, engineering, and architecture sectors, and as the Government’s four-phase roadmap kicks in, we expect to see continued recruitment demand. Read the full report below.

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

 

Infrastructure sector 

In Infrastructure, we saw a significant demand for regional workers from major water infrastructure and road and rail projects, both government-funded and mining-related. With international borders shut, the competition for talent was (and will continue to be) fierce, especially in NSW, with salaries increasing by over 15%.

There is a huge shortage of skilled professionals to deliver the major infrastructure project pipeline in progress, which has continued without significant issues despite the pandemic. Workforce mobility on regional projects was key, with permanent and contract fly-in fly-out workers from Brisbane and also NSW.

Looking ahead, we see opportunities including:

  • Scope for clients to offer asset management, maintenance, and operations services on newly delivered assets, creating new career paths.
  • Significant demand for engineers across all levels for major projects.

 

Construction sector 

The Construction sector was up and down due to the pandemic, but the good news over recent months has been an upwards trend across the board. Significant construction projects moving ahead in FY22 include Western Sydney Airport and the Metro stations and over land development.

Key market observations:

  • Certain areas remain stronger than others, with continued demand for project engineers, senior CAs and experienced project managers.
  • As project numbers increase, so will demand for site managers, foremen, and safety personnel.
  • Government education investment is continuing to keep modular builders very busy.
  • Large commercial schemes are starting to come into play.

With the industry on an upward trajectory, the talent pool will decline. Read CGC in Focus to find out what we predict for salary rises as talent pools shrink and works ramp up. For recruiters, we highlight what attracting and retaining staff will require in FY22.

 

Engineering and architecture sectors 

For Engineering and Architecture, the market hasn’t been this buoyant since 2015 and the coming year will be one of the busiest the sector has experienced.

  • Government-backed major infrastructure projects continue progressing towards connectivity across Australia’s urban centres and regions.
  • Data Centres remain an extremely lucrative market, vital for many companies to capitalise on.
  • The defence budget once again is huge.

The combination of these large-scale projects in construction, closed borders, and salary blow-outs, is creating a substantial skills shortage. Professionals are being offered attractive packages, and there is a key focus on business-winning senior delivery professionals.

 

Project management and development sector 

For the Project Management and Development sector, COVID dictated market workflow, but Christmas 2020 saw market confidence emerging and restrictions lifted. With low interest rates and workers returning to the CBD, this created a strong need from developers and project managers for additional headcount.

With continued government investment coupled with low interest rates, we anticipate continuing on an upward trajectory, with a more consistent project flow. As in other markets, candidates will be sought after and will be in a position to capitalise on opportunities to achieve above-market salaries due to the ongoing skill shortages.

In May ’21, 51% of Australian employers were recruiting, more than double the 22% hiring in June ’20. In NSW, 48% of employers were recruiting, while 54% of QLD employers were hiring.

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

To read blog number one, looking at the recruitment data and trends from a regional perspective, click here.

 

A busy year is ahead 

A challenge for management teams will be managing workloads in the skill-short market, increasingly with a blended workforce of permanent and contract staff, with many working full or part-time from home. We expect salaries to continue to rise and a shift towards a contract workforce as skills become scarcer, employers get creative, and candidates seek to maximise their earning potential on an hourly/daily rate.

Companies need to particularly focus on retaining existing staff through offering training and career paths. To capitalise on opportunities, another key focus for many companies is strategically acquiring top candidates who possess the business-building skills to help them enter new markets.

Naturally, an end to snap lockdowns and border closures (domestic and international) will significantly improve our access to talent. While it won’t be without its challenges, we’re optimistic about this financial year.

Download CGC in Focus for insider insights on the state of our sector after this unprecedented year, and what this means for recruiters and candidates in this competitive, skills-short market.

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

Our highly motivated team of experienced consultants help clients and candidates connect 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.

For local candidates, skills shortages as the economy recovers and companies need to deliver works with local professionals while our border remains closed, will create excellent career opportunities. 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.

 

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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