Construction talent hard to find

Employers on Australian commercial construction projects are finding it difficult to secure top talent due to increased demand, according to recruitment firm Hays.

Simon Bristow, senior regional director of recruitment specialist Hays Construction, said a recent slowdown in the residential sector and growth in infrastructure and commercial projects meant there was an imbalance of supply and demand.

Bristow said the Australian property market was at a “tipping point”. He added: “This shift from residential to infrastructure will naturally impact skills in demand, with candidates with civil infrastructure experience now in high demand and short supply.

“The commercial market is also adding to vacancy activity. So, for employers working on infrastructure and commercial projects, it can be challenging to secure top talent.”

Bristow said different regions of Australia needed specific skills and expertise. “In NSW, Site Managers and Supervisors with $150m project experience will remain highly sought after as projects in the commercial, health and transport sectors increase in size across the CBD,” he said.

Bristow added: “Canberra’s construction market remains strong with project managers with large-scale commercial experience, as well as project engineers and contract administrators in high demand.”

“Victoria’s market remains active too, with increased demand for experienced contract administrators, project managers, design managers, engineers and site managers in civil infrastructure and the commercial market.”

Kevin Bates, President of the Risk Management Society for Australian Professionals, says the high volume of construction projects make it difficult for companies to secure the right talent. He cited a supply and demand issue, with a lack of top candidates to high-level roles.

Bates added: “The sheer number of major complex projects afoot right now does not have a corresponding volume of high calibre individuals to execute against these projects.”

Bates said increased client demands made the staff shortage more problematic, with “clients pushing as much risk on to the contractor as possible”.

Published 2019

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