Managers and professionals within the property sector throughout Australia are set to benefit from a robust employment market in 2015, with demand likely to be especially strong for project managers and developers as well as leasing and corporate real-estate advisory specialists, a senior figure within the recruitment sector says.

Michael Page regional director Dave Storey said the overall outlook for employment within property sector throughout Australia was favourable as strong conditions in residential and commercial markets and solid levels of work for real-estate and advisory groups were being underpinned by a combination of low interest rates, strong population growth, a realignment of the overall economy back toward traditional sectors such as property and retail, greater levels of infrastructure investment and higher levels of foreign capital inflows.

Dave Story

Dave Story

Storey said a recovery in development activity over the past year or so has precipitated a shift in demand back toward front-end roles such as project management and delivery and corporate real-estate advisory as well as architecture and design, urban planning and consultancy work. Whilst conditions remain stable in Victoria, he said demand is running hot in New South Wales amid a strong housing market recovery and high levels of infrastructure investment in that state and is also improving in Queensland off a low base.

“The outlook is definitely favourable throughout the overall Australian marketplace,” Storey said. “I think from a recruitment perspective, we are seeing greater flow in job enquires that come past our desk on a national basis across some key areas. Some of those areas are leasing, development, project management and delivery and also corporate real-estate advisory.”

Storey’s comments come as demand for workers throughout most of the construction sector in Australia is running hot – albeit with the lion’s share of activity being concentrated primarily around New South Wales. In the three months to November last year, for example, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that the number of people employed throughout the construction sector came in at a seasonally adjusted record 1.0546 million – 58,700 more than the comparable period in 2013.

Moreover, expectations going forward remain bullish: in its latest survey of more than 1,900 decision makers and professionals across the industry, the Property Council of Australia says participants expected both forward work schedules and staffing levels to rise in every state over the next 12 months, with participants being particularly optimistic in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.

Storey said high levels of inbound foreign investment are driving an increasing focus on international experience at the senior executive level as well as growing demand for bilingual Mandarin and Cantonese speaking development and sales professionals within the sector. In terms of project management and development roles, meanwhile, employers are increasingly seeking candidates who can not only deliver from a construction perspective but who also are able to apply commercial and financial acumen and who have a good understanding of aspects such as equity partnership models which are in place, the economic cycle and rate of return on investment.

He said it is not yet clear whether or not the current upswing in the property cycle will lead to any substantial shifts in the types of employment on offer.

“I would say it is too early to tell,” Storey said regarding whether or not there would be a shift toward or away from full-time roles within the sector in 2015. “Typically when a market is improving and demand is growing, the recruitment space sees a greater demand for permanent, full time employees.”

“However, we are consistently seeing a common trend for either fixed-term specialist contractors or intra-executive managers to bring a skill set to a business upon a time of growth as well.”