Job vacancies across most sections of the design and construction market appear to be waning despite a generally robust environment for construction industry professionals, the latest data suggests.
Based on a count of vacancies posted on the internet, data from the Department of Jobs and Small Business indicates that the number of unfilled positions across architecture, engineering and construction occupations declined in June and has been trending downward since reaching a peak in the middle part of last year.
In construction specifically, advertised vacancies for construction managers fell from 3,990 in May to 3,882 in June.
Vacancies also contracted in civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial and mechanical engineering and mining engineering (see chart).
In architecture, vacancies edged up for architects and landscape architects but contracted in interior design and urban planning (refer chart).
Around Australia, the market for design and building professionals has been strong over recent years amid record levels of dwelling construction and a massive pipeline of civil infrastructure work.
In May, data from the ABS indicates that the number of people employed throughout the construction sector in Australia stood at 1.179 million – the second highest level on record and up on the same period three years earlier by almost 100,000.
Nevertheless, a downward trend in vacancies may indicate that some of the heat in the market for skilled professionals has come off.
Furthermore, the data reveals a divergence in fortunes across various areas.
In architecture, exposure to the slowing market for multi-residential projects has led to softer conditions notwithstanding an upturn in commercial building.
At 710, vacancies for architects and landscape architects are well below levels recorded in June 2018 (823) and sit at levels which remain modest by recent historic standards.
At 238 meanwhile, vacancies for interior designers sit at barely over half of their level in June 2018 and are way off the 601 vacancies seen three years ago in June 2016.
In engineering, however, a booming civil market means that vacancy levels remain elevated by historic standards despite having softened over the past twelve months.
At 1,955, vacancies for civil engineers are down on levels seen in June last year (2,292) but remain almost double the 1,075 unfilled positions recorded five years ago in June 2014.
Likewise, those for industrial and mechanical engineers have fallen from 763 to 709 over the past year but are almost double the 386 recorded three years ago in June 2016.
Ditto for electrical engineers, for whom vacancies have more than doubled from 160 three years ago in June 2016 to 364 in June 2019.
For mining engineers, meanwhile, vacancies have more than tripled from 238 in June 2016 to 737 in June 2019 amid higher levels of activity in resource construction.
Finally, in construction (professional), vacancies for construction managers (the only category of professional construction personnel for which data is given) have contracted from near record highs 4,584 to 3,823 over the twelve months to June but remain at respectable levels by historic standards.