Demand for civil engineers and others within the engineering profession is on the rise as the market for civil construction picks up, a new report states.

Releasing its July to September Quarterly Report, recruitment outfit Hays says demand for skilled professionals within the engineering sector throughout Australia remains patchy but reasonably strong.

“Australia’s engineering industry is very active with continued staffing demand and vacancy activity – although levels of activity do vary based on location,” Hays said.

Leading the way is New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory as market conditions in the former are driven by investment in the Sydney Metro, Sydney Light Rail and Paramatta Light Rail and those in the latter are helped along by a $700 million light rail project as well as a number of subdivisions, land releases and road duplications.

Victoria remains busy with subdivision in Melbourne’s Northwest and Southeast along with civil works including rail upgrades and the Melbourne Metro project.

Demand for road, highway and rail engineers is putting upward pressure on salaries, Hays says.

Up north in Queensland, growth is modest but steady for now in Brisbane as the market is being driven by highway upgrades and subdivisions, whilst activity on the Gold Coast centres around the 2018 Commonwealth Games and includes both new and old sporting venues, sport and community facilities, and residential developments for townhouses and apartments to accommodate athletes and sporting officials.

The forward outlook in Brisbane remains uncertain as a number of projects there are at least halfway through their life cycle.

Elsewhere, Hays says highway extensions and the airport link are keeping the market busy in Western Australia, whilst road infrastructure is creating vacancy activity in Tasmania, infrastructure investment is driving the market in the Northern Territory and significant infrastructure upgrades including road investments will boost the market in Adelaide in coming years.

In terms of candidate trends, Hays says many want roles which offer training in 12D in the civil market whilst some would also like roles that provide exposure to larger projects.

Roles in Demand

According to Hays:

  • Civil engineers with infrastructure experience are in growing demand as more infrastructure projects move into the design phase.
  • Structural engineers with strong experience with clients are also sought.
  • A major area of demand is for candidates with expertise in specialist software packages, and 12D design drafters are the most sought after. As the demand for 3D modelling increases, there is also a shortage of suitable candidates with Revit and Civil 3D as well as 12D – particularly on subdivisions, residential and industrial developments and roads and infrastructure.
  • Hydraulic engineers at the mid-level within building services are also wanted.
  • Building services and structural engineers with business development skills are in demand, with employers seeking candidates who are confident and can visit clients to win business.
  • Finally, there is demand for skilled engineers from a consulting background who can work autonomously amid a lack of ability on the part of many senior engineers to operate on an unsupervised basis.