Eastern states have taken the lead as the focus of employment opportunities within the engineering market throughout Australia has shifted back toward building services and transport projects, according to the latest report.
Unveiling its latest quarterly report, recruitment outfit Hays said demand in New South Wales especially had grown amid strong markets in transport, residential and hospital projects as well as civil and structural design.
Markets were also strengthening in South East Queensland and Canberra, while Victoria continued to grow steadily thanks to continued investment in residential, education and healthcare projects.
“In New South Wales we’re seeing strong vacancy activity thanks to a busy transport market, civil and structural design projects and major residential development and hospital projects,” Hays said, referring to the situation in New South Wales specifically.
Hays said employers are looking for candidates with large project experience, while companies are outsourcing more and using consultants for project-specific requirements as well as offering internships as a way to identify entry-level talent before they graduate.
New South Wales is the strongest market, though Hays says the draw of candidates toward that state is creating shortages elsewhere.
In South East Queensland, for example, employers are desperately trying to lure talent back to fill a strengthening forward order book after the lure of the boom in Sydney drew many down south.
Around Australia, the market for engineers has dropped back in recent years as the boom in resource construction waned.
Compared with recent peaks at the height of the mining boom, vacancy numbers for civil engineers, electrical engineers, mining engineers and industrial, mechanical and production engineers are down by between around two-thirds and 90 per cent respectively.
However, the market has now stabilised and vacancies in categories such as civil and electrical engineering are indeed slightly higher compared with their levels at the same time last year.
State by State:
As mentioned above, conditions in New South Wales are extremely strong amid high levels of work on transport, residential and healthcare projects.
Throughout the remainder of the year, employer focus will primarily revolve around design, mechanical and electrical skills as well, as civil design skills for large projects. Design and project engineers are sought after for work on government infrastructure projects and foreign funded building projects. Graduates are also being sought as organisations use the significant pipeline of work to grow their core skill base whilst leaders who can manage design teams are in demand from employers struggling with the management capability to run both their current and upcoming projects.
In South East Queensland, demand is growing – especially in building services and consulting – and is challenging the available supply of skills amid a southward exodus of professionals who headed to Sydney in recent years to take advantage of opportunities there.
Demand for civil, structural, electrical and mechanical engineers with experience on high-rise commercial and multi-residential projects is strong. Senior civil designers and registered cadastral surveyors are sought for continued expansion and growth of land development and residential subdivisions. Hydraulic engineers with QBCC qualifications are also needed.
Continued investment in building-related projects in the residential, education and healthcare sectors, and the continued boom in high rise development, is creating busy conditions for consultants and contractors alike in Victoria as government funding for major projects is filtering through.
Transport engineers, Inroads designers, highway/civil design engineers and structural engineers are in short supply as are registered building practitioners whilst demand is also high for traffic engineers and Revit drafters.
Major candidate shortages are emerging in Canberra/ACT, where vacancy activity is on the rise as gaps emerge in many teams.
Hydraulic drafters with Revit experience are needed as are hydraulic engineers, mechanical engineers, civil infrastructure engineers and 3D or 12D civil drafters. The building services sector is especially in need of skills.
While the market in Western Australia has obviously softened overall amid the resource sector slowdown, areas of opportunity remain in terms of detailed design for government and retail projects. Water, too is getting a little busier.
Major skills in demand include civil and structural engineers with highway design experience (for work in a number of transport projects at tender stage) as well as building services design engineers with strong post graduate experience.
Although the South Australia economy is flat, some building projects have been delayed and many of the roles are still contract rather than permanent, that state is ‘presenting more opportunities than we saw 12 months ago’ as more civil projects gain approval and apartment and high rise projects continue to be strong, Hays says.
12D civil designers with highway design experience are needed, as are Revit operators across the electric, mechanical and hydraulics fields, civil engineers across highway and land development, hydraulics designers and fire services designers with Revit experience.