The saying "timing is everything" couldn’t be truer when it comes to Queensland’s construction market.

There is a strong market sentiment that the residential construction market has hit its peak and we are facing the downside of the bell curve.

While building approvals are still strong, a recent article in the Australian Financial Review said $1 billion worth of recently approved apartment developments will be postponed because of concerns about oversupply, financing, construction costs and government regulations.

As residential construction projects continue to slow down, there will be fewer jobs available and an influx of candidates on the market.

So what does this mean for you if you are working in the residential sector?

Just as we’ve seen in other sectors, namely resources, when current projects start to finish up, the demand for your skill set will not be as high as it has been over the past few years. For the first time in a while, you will find yourself competing with others looking to transition onto new project types.

My advice is to take necessary steps now to ensure your employability in growing or stable construction sectors is ahead of the competition.

Your first step should always be to independently analyse and talk with your current company.

How diversified is your current company? Have they been successful in delivering projects across other growing or stable industry sectors?

What is their financial position? Do they have a culture of transferring people to other project types? Will they provide necessary training to make sure your skills are relevant in growing or stable sectors?

The best piece of advice I can give is to talk to your current company and ask if they can provide a structured plan to secure your future within the company. Ask if they can provide an idea of the nature of projects they will deliver once the residential market slows down.

If you are not confident your current company will have the capacity or willingness to transfer your skills to other projects, it is time to have a backup plan.

Do your research and position yourself.

The next step is to analyse your own background. What project types have you worked on previously? Can you transition back to those projects? Ask yourself, what sectors are experiencing growth or stability where you can transition your skills?

Based on my day-to-day discussions with clients and candidates, along with current research, it is strongly believed the sectors with the biggest growth or stability forecast are in aged care, defence and retail.

In my opinion, of those sectors, aged care is the most aligned to residential construction.

According to Master Builders, over the next 12 months, the health and aged-care sectors will continue to benefit from demand due to an aging population and the Queensland government’s investment in hospital infrastructure.

Furthermore, the Australian Financial Review reported that as many as 76,000 new residential aged care places will be required by 2023-24 to meet demand.

Transitioning between residential and aged care

To make a move into aged care, identify the companies that have demonstrated success in delivering aged care projects and begin seeking out connections or recruitment companies who are placing for them.

The next step is to start having conversations with those connections and advise them of your intention in making the transition. Get details of upcoming projects including the timing for when those projects will begin. Keep in touch with your connections in this space and if an opportunity does come up, you need to be prepared.

As we have seen with the transitioning from resources to civil infrastructure projects, timing is going to be everything.

Be proactive with the direction of your career. Don’t leave it in someone else’s hands.