Salespeople, property managers and valuers are in demand as a surge in multi-residential development activity in eastern states underpins a strong need for skilled workers in the property sector throughout Australia.

In a new report, recruitment outfit Hays said that in market awash with inexperienced candidates, those with sufficient levels of experience are in short supply and are being selective about those with whom they agree to interview amid a strong awareness of the demand for their skills in what is ‘very much a candidate led market.’

In particular, Hays says off the plan salespeople, residential property managers and strata managers were all in demand amid a flurry of high-rise developments in Queensland, New South Wales and the Adelaide CBD, real estate agencies seeking to grow their portfolios, and the generally buoyant state of the high-density residential market.

Commercial sales professionals, commercial property managers, valuers and senior quantity surveyors are also in demand, Hays says.

Around Australia, demand for suitably qualified professionals within the property sector is being driven by a surge in activity within east coast markets, especially in Sydney, Melbourne and South East Queensland.

In addition to strong demand, this is placing upward pressure on remuneration, with senior property developers, property consultants, designers, architects and construction staff all pulling in significant levels of salary increase.

Going forward, with participants in the most recent survey conducted by the Property Council of Australia expecting workloads to grow in every state over the next 12 months and staffing levels to increase solidly across every state except for Western Australia and the Northern Territory, conditions in the market appear set to remain favourable to candidates over the near term.

In terms of states, according to Hays:

  • Experienced candidates are in short supply in New South Wales amid a combination of the busy nature of property market conditions in that state and a reluctance of employers to sponsor overseas candidates. There is, however, an intriguing stalemate occurring whereby employers in that state are thus far unwilling to dramatically increase salaries or benefits in order to attract top talent.
  • Opportunities are being created in the Australian Capital Territory amid a good number of new apartment blocks under construction and a recent upturn in commercial property transaction activity.
  • In Queensland, quantity surveying outfits are increasingly busy with specialist work in capital gains tax valuations, stamp duty valuations and insurance replacement costing. Development staff with bilingual skills, meanwhile, are in increasing demand in order to deal with foreign clients, though the first quarter of the year was quieter compared with the last quarter of 2015 in terms of client side project management and development management.
  • In South Australia, improving construction conditions in high-rise developments in and around Adelaide is driving a need for residential project sales staff, sales managers and residential property managers, yet employer frustration is growing as high numbers of inadequately qualified candidates apply for these roles. The government, too, is now hiring following several years of downsizing and restructuring.
  • In Western Australia, hiring activity remains centered around permanent roles in sales and leasing of residential property, with those possessing good numbers of local contacts being especially sought after in challenging office leasing markets.
  • Little in the way of new roles are being created in the Northern Territory as residential prices stabilise in Darwin.
  • Whilst the Hays report does not cover Victoria, it is likely that demand remains generally strong amid buoyant residential activity and levels of investment in Melbourne.

Outside of the front end of the sector, hiring is slowing on the facilities management front in terms of permanent staff but is increasing in terms of contract and temporary roles.

Project managers with architecture or engineering qualifications are in demand as are relocation project managers and space managers as well as service coordinators to coordinate contractors and maintenance to rectify issues.