There has been much speculation about when Australia’s construction boom will bust, but The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows a 13% year-on-year increase in job ads for the Construction industry in October and the average advertised salary was $106,784.
The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows a 13% year-on-year increase in job ads for the Construction industry in October and the average advertised salary was $106,784.
James Iddon, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Aerotek, says infrastructure projects in major cities of Sydney and Melbourne are helping to fuel current demand. “There are projects, such as NorthConnex and WestConnex in Sydney, that are still in early development stage and haven’t gone into full swing from a construction perspective, so I think we’ll continue to see an upward trend in demand,” he says.
- Health and safety leads the way. Job ads for health, safety and environment roles led the way across the Construction industry. They rose by 37% year-on-year to October. “If you’re bidding for government work in particular, there is a huge expectation that you can implement and manage projects with robust health and safety systems and processes in place,” explains Iddon.
At multinational engineering and construction firm WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, safety is a core pillar of the business. “Safety is non-negotiable in all of our processes,” explains Siobhan Savage, Group Talent and Mobility Executive. “I think the more that companies take it seriously, the more opportunities it will create for roles in the industry.”
Savage explains that every meeting within the business is opened with a ‘safety moment’. “It can be about anything related to safety – not just in your work life but in your personal life,” she says. “It’s about bringing safety awareness to everyone around you.”
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff employs approximately 34,000 people across the globe and 2,000 of those are based in Australia and New Zealand. It recently launched a global campaign called ‘2 Steps Ahead’, which aims to attract the best talent to the business. “We want to attract entrepreneurial people who don't just go in and do the job,” she says. “We want to employ people who push it a little bit and think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions for our clients. We have many people with really amazing ideas and we end up winning a lot of work when they come up with something left of field.”
- Growth extends across the industry. Almost all roles in the Construction industry increased year-on-year. Plant and machinery operators saw an increase of 33%, while job opportunities for projects managers experienced a lift of 6%. “Project managers would be in the top three areas of skill shortage for us,” says Savage.
There was also a 5% increase in job ads for planning and scheduling roles over the same period. “When you set up a major billion dollar job, you need a big team of planners and schedulers to help you achieve that,” says Savage. “When the mining industry declined in Australia there was less demand, but now there are major projects happening, especially on the eastern coast, and you really need these roles for the big jobs.”
Iddon says the 5% increase is lower than he’d expect and adds that candidates in this area may experience greater demand in the months ahead. “There are a lot of large and complex infrastructure projects in the early development stage, so I think we’ll see busy times ahead for planning and scheduling roles,” he says. “Sometimes they are rolled into project management jobs, so that may explain the greater increase in ads for those jobs.”
- Key skills in demand. In addition to technical know-how, Iddon says employers in the Construction industry may soon be looking for candidates with skills that can transfer across a range of industry sectors. “Employers on road projects, for example, are still inclined to look for candidates with roads experience, but I think we may soon reach a level of demand where they will be looking for more transferable skills and employers will be more inclined to take on candidates who have rail experience, for example, to work on road projects.”
Savage adds that a solutions-driven attitude is high on the list of requirements at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. “We obviously respect and want the technical expertise but for us it's a bit more than that. We want people that can work with clients and be solutions driven.”
Experts predict demand for skills in construction will remain strong, particularly across the infrastructure sector, and that’s good news for candidates. “We're already thinking about two years ahead because we know what's about to hit us,” says Savage.