As the apartment building boom continues, a new report suggests demand for construction sector staff is running hot.

In its July-September quarterly report, recruitment outfit Hays says high levels of demand for both professional staff and tradespeople are evident amid an environment of robust building conditions across a number of markets.

In its report, Hays said the market in New South Wales remained particularly busy with high levels of activity in new residential and commercial builds as well as commercial retrofits.

As a result, employers in that state are having to work increasingly hard to attract and retain quality staff.

“Given activity, a significant shortage of experienced candidates has emerged across the board and consequently there is incredibly high demand for both permanent and temporary positions,” Hays said about the New South Wales and Sydney market. “As a result salaries and counter offers are increasing as employers attempt to attract and retain their staff. It is also very likely that candidates will be interviewing with a number of companies and multiple offers must be managed.”

In other areas, too, confidence is strong in the ACT and increasing in South Australia whilst a steady flow of roles are coming through in Brisbane, Hays says.

The latest report follows the release last month of data which showed that employment throughout the construction sector was at record levels amid extremely strong levels of activity in new home building and apartment construction.

In terms of states, from a point of view of profession roles, according to Hays:

  • The New South Wales market is booming and experienced candidates are in demand across the board amid extremely strong activity in new residential and commercial construction and commercial building retrofits. Candidates are required in areas including but not limited to project management, contract administration, estimating and site management.
  • In the ACT, confidence is growing and there are a good number of high rise residential and mixed use commercial projects on offer, whilst there is also a growing appetite to spruce up B and C grade buildings in order to attract government and private tenants. Demand is strong for degree qualified contract administrators, project managers with multi-storey residential experience, site managers with high-rise experience and a strong structural background through to façade, estimators with commercial fit-out refurbishment experience for B and C grade upgrades.
  • In Brisbane, there is a steady flow of commercial work as well as reasonable levels of demand for detached, affordable housing. Contract administrators and estimators are in demand, as are finishing specialisations on high-rise multi-residential projects such as forepersons and defect supervisors.
  • Demand is not so hot however, in North Queensland following the end of the mining boom – albeit with a hollowing out of the available talent pool amid an exodus of engineers to places such as New South Wales and some demand for project managers on building and civil projects as well as civil designers, site managers and contracts administrators.
  • Activity is also quiet in the Northern Territory as work on the Ichthys project draws toward its conclusion, although design consultants reckon there could be some demand in 2017 arising from infrastructure spending and a growing market for housing especially in defence. Project managers, contract administrators and estimators are in demand.
  • In South Australia, demand for permanent staff is on the rise and the market will grow further in residential projects following recent rezoning decisions in Glenelg. Site supervisors and project managers with medium to high density experience are needed as are customer support/administrators and draftspersons along with commercial contract administrators with more than five years of construction experience and commercial estimators.
  • In Western Australia, a decent range of projects in commercial sectors such as education, retail and aged care are keeping activity levels reasonably consistent notwithstanding the slowdown in sectors such as resources, apartment building and office building. Demand is strongest for civil estimators, contract estimators and business development managers.
  • Whilst Hays does not specifically mention Tasmania or Victoria, both markets are experiencing strong building conditions at the moment and it is likely that suitably qualified people are in high demand.

In terms of tradespeople, Hays does not break this down according to state but says demand across most parts is strong amid a healthy pipeline of work in retail, aged care and education as well as high rise developments.

Carpenters remain the most sought after trade whilst demand is also strong for experienced formwork carpenters on high rise developments, commercial concreters, steel fixers and plumbers, electricians and painters/decorators.

Goo CW1 labourers with experience are also needed.