Professionals within the building sector in Australia are expected to be in significant demand as employment levels within the sector smash record highs and signs grow that the construction boom will remain strong for longer than was originally thought.

In a new report, recruitment firm Hays says demand for professionals within the sector will continue to be robust in coming months.

“Australia’s construction industry will remain a strong economic driver in the first half of 2018, with continued staffing demand and vacancy activity – although hotspots of demand do vary based on location,” Hays said.

Hays’ comment come as the market for skilled construction professionals is running hot.

Thanks largely to record levels of building activity in residential building work, an improving commercial sector and a growing number pipeline of civil infrastructure works, employment within the sector remains at record levels.

Moreover, participants within the most recent ANZ/Property Council of Australia Property Industry Confidence Survey expressed high levels of optimism in both forward work schedules and staffing expectations.

According to Hays:

In New South Wales, structures forepersons and project engineers will be in demand amid a shortage of supply for these skills and a strong pipeline of work. Contract administrators (fit-out) will be needed and will be in shortage at the intermediate level in Sydney’s CBD as the Barangaroo development prompts other CBD landlords to refresh their stock, whilst both contract administrators and senior contract administrators with experience in both residential and commercial building are in short supply and will be needed across Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter region.

Site managers will be needed for upcoming projects, whilst project managers with commercial building experience on projects between $20 million and $50 million will be sought after particularly in Newcastle and the Hunter region. Estimators will be required to price both residential and high-value commercial jobs, whilst candidates with high-rise residential projects experience will be sought for a strong pipeline of work particularly in Newcastle and Gosford.

In Queensland, Hays says there will be a shortage of civil project engineers with main roads experience who are willing to work on a roster in 2018. Other areas of demand are likely to include project managers with commercial experience, contract administrators with a QS or BSc qualification and demonstrated experience in commercial building and site managers particularly in Brisbane as many strong candidates have secured roles south of the city.

In South Australia, Hays says the market will be kept busy by medium density apartment building and commercial activity in the first half of 2018, whilst significant infrastructure projects will boost the civil market over coming years. For this reason, civil project estimators will be in high demand early in the year especially as attraction of many strong candidates to tier one projects has left a shortage of qualified people for remaining roles.

Commercial estimators are also in short supply as a large number who moved interstate a few years ago have not returned. Commercial contract administrators with at least three to five years of experience will be required, as will residential estimators – albeit with many new employers as yet refusing to meet salaries being offered by existing employers. Finally, strong civil administrators with experience will be needed.

In the Northern Territory, Hays says activity will be driven by spending on defence housing, infrastructure and commercial development in the first half complemented by a large volume of land releases. Project managers, site managers and contract administrators will be in demand for construction defence projects in Darwin and Katherine.

In Western Australia, project managers and contract managers with commercial building experience will be needed as candidates in these areas have relocated to the east coast and to work on large LNG projects in Darwin, whilst intermediate level project engineers with commercial experience will be sought as will experienced civil engineers.

Thanks largely to work on the redevelopment of the Royal Hobart Hospital, a rush to expand the supply of CBD hotel rooms and the relocation of the University of Tasmania to the CBD, commercial building construction in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart is booming. For this reason demand will be high in specialist building construction trades including fire sprinkler fitters and HVAC technicians, structural tradespeople and skilled labourers whilst greater public investment in civil infrastructure will generate demand for civil project managers, project engineers, civil tradespeople and skilled labourers.

Hays did not include Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory in its report.