Civil engineers, site managers and supervisors and experienced residential drafters are among the design and construction professionals who are in demand going into 2021, a leading recruitment firm says.

Meanwhile, tradespeople such as HVAC technicians, plasters and plumbers are also needed.

In its latest announcement, recruitment firm Hays has unveiled the Top 100 skills which it says are in demand across the economy.

In design and construction, it has identified multiple areas where skilled workers are in shortage (see below).

The latest report comes amid expectations of a subdued year in construction employment.

In its latest forecast, the Australian Construction Industry Forum said it expect the sector to shed 42,000 jobs or three percent of its workforce over 2020/21.

Despite having recovered in recent months, job vacancies across architecture, engineering and construction management remain below levels seen at this time last year.

Conversely, vacancies for tradespeople such as carpenters, plumbers and painting trades workers are holding up well.

Across the economy overall, Hays adopts an upbeat tone.

“We’re seeing vacancy activity rise in many areas as organisations return to growth and look to protect their future,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“Demand for these key skills is high, especially those deemed critical to project delivery or business operations. Also ranking highly are jobs that allow organisations and people to perform at their peak.”

According to Hays, design and construction hotspots are as follows:


  • Residential Drafterswith experience who can carry out design work for kit and custom design homes in response to an increase in new home builds
  • Environmental Plannerswith public sector experience who can work on new urban development plans that have been fast tracked in response to infrastructure investment
  • Urban/Town Plannerswho can work on parks and community assets, such as mixed-use zones incorporating commercial and residential precincts, public transport terminals and common areas. Experience with local authority or council codes and standards is required.


  • Residential Estimatorswho can complete production or sales estimating for busy mid to high volume project home builders
  • Site Supervisorswith experience working for insurance companies on remedial work, including completing a make safe, estimating a job then either completing or at the minimum supervising the project through to completion
  • Commercial Site Managerswith experience working on childcare, aged care and education projects and a trade background.


  • Control Systems Engineerswith multiple platform hardware and software experience in addition to qualifications in machine safety. These candidates are required as engineering consultancies increase headcount for integration projects in the food and manufacturing industries, and for capital projects in the resources and heavy industries
  • Civil Designerswith formal qualifications who can work in a consultancy and focus on land subdivision and earthworks relating to storm water and sewage planning. Multiple software package exposure is required as varied platforms are typically used, including Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D and 12D
  • Civil & Structural Engineersfor consultancies with a mix of civil and structural experience in addition to experience managing design teams and CPEng certification.

Trades & Labour:

  • Domestic HVAC Techniciansfor service and install work with a Certificate III in air conditioning and their electrical license
  • Plastererswith experience in the whole range of plastering, from setting to sheeting, for commercial and residential new builds and refurbishments
  • Plumbers in the commercial and maintenance sectors who are trade qualified with a gas fitting dual trade and TMV and Backflow endorsements.