Engineering Recruitment – Market Commentary – April 2020


Much has changed since our last commentary in January. Bushfires were finally extinguished but then a dramatic change with the COVID-19 pandemic with resulting social distancing, self isolations and lockdowns. From a duty of care perspective we have been extremely busy ensuring that our ~400 on-hired employees and all our internal staff were safe and supported. We have been working remotely since mid March and have adjusted with zoom, facetime etc. becoming important elements in order for us to stay connected and productive. Our clients are doing likewise and there are pockets that are still hiring – healthcare, FMCG, parts of IT, call centres etc. Another phenomenon we have seen is manufacturing companies changing tack and showing resilience by changing their product mix to one that matches the current health needs. Demonstrating agility and nimbleness are qualities that are shining brightly. We continue to place quality engineers in interesting positions, albeit at a much reduced rate. We are also taking advantage of the current opportunity to update our database so when normal economic conditions return we are ready to quickly fill our clients’ assignments. Should your circumstances have changed, we would encourage you to contact us so we can try and help you. And even if your status hasn’t changed, please feel free to contact us should you require any assistance with potential repositioning and/or developing your career. We encourage you all to stay positive, adaptable, connected and together we will get through this. 

Engineering & Manufacturing Operations

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on employment, the economy and every aspect of everyday life! In as far as engineering and operations are concerned, the enquiries have come to a complete halt, although a number of FMCG industries appear to be thriving under the current ‘Essential Services’ demands. ‘Under Employment’ is once again in the spotlight as the number of applicants applying for roles has increased dramatically. Ironically, the Australian Industry Group’s PMI for March has increased and is indicating a high rate of expansion, and this in turn is solely due to the increased demand for fast moving consumer goods and other home products. Other industry sectors such as ‘heavy manufacturing’, have contracted due to a lack of exports! We are in a fortunate position in that our politicians reacted fairly quickly to this pandemic. The hope is that this will help kickstart the economy sooner rather than much later with far less devastation than other countries have experienced. If there is an upside, it is that the air quality around the world has improved dramatically. This experience has also highlighted that many employees can work from home, and thus continue to have a big impact on the environment through reduced carbon emissions. Might this be the new norm? I would like to invite employers to comment on this with your thoughts. 

Building & Mechanical Services

The industry paused recruiting while it assessed the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Some have taken a break from recruiting, but others have sensed an opportunity and are grasping it with both hands. These businesses are likely to end in the best shape when the inevitable upswing appears and now is the time to get into them. Building services is going to be critical in the new COVID-safe economy. So onto the details….If you are a senior HVAC, Fire or Hydraulics Engineer with high-level consulting and engineering skills with the ability to lead a team then you need to get in contact with us for your next opportunity in Melbourne or Canberra. We also have an opening for an Engineering Leader to take charge and bring about improvements in delivery and quality for prefabricated sheet metal systems for the HVAC industry. If you have experience in the latter and have led a team before then you know who to call! The COVID-19 crisis has thrown up its issues, but also opportunities. If you are interested in working as an Assembly Technician in Melbourne for a company that is making state-of-the-art machines to fight against the disease then get in touch. You need to have previous experience of assembling high technology electro-mechnical machines or special purpose machinery. This role will also see you contributing to improvements in the assembly and quality of the machines. Challenging, but what a fulfilling role!


In Mid-March due to retirement, our Technology division lost a valued member of our team – Roy Dickson. Roy was part of the AWP family for close to 30 years and built incredibly trusting relationships with both clients and candidates alike. Everyone who knew Roy trusted his judgement, skills, experience and knowledge. Although he has left big shoes to fill, Andy and Kanika are both highly capable and dedicated to providing support to candidates as well as clients. We appreciate all that Roy has taught us and wish him and Janet the very best of health and happiness.

Being at the top of our game once again, Australia Wide Engineering Recruitment was inundated with demand for Firmware Developers, Embedded Software Engineers, Hardware Engineers, FPGA Design Engineers etc during the last quarter. This was still a constant search for talented candidates, as our clients expectations are always high, wanting the best resources in the industry. However, this was unfortunately short-lived when we were sadly hit by COVID-19 and all our roles within technology were put on hold for the time being. Many candidates out there who have lost their jobs or who are uncertain about their current positions are all asking the same question, “What does the job market look like at the moment?” Unfortunately for now, it is certainly slower and more bleak than usual downturns. However, despite difficult current economic conditions, Australia Wide Engineering Recruitment believes that our key markets will rebound quickly once the COVID-19 pandemic abates. 

Therefore during this downtime, we would suggest working on your resumes and cover letters. Take the time to stop, reflect on and research exactly what organisations are looking for, because when the market does recover, there are likely to be quite a number of candidates applying for the same position. Be acquainted with the industry, be knowledgeable and keep abreast of the situation which we see changing on a daily basis. Please reach out to us as we can provide and equip affected employees with the essential training and tools they will need to maximise their success in gaining their next job, coming to terms with all aspects of being retrenched, identifying motivations and transferable skills, reviewing and recommending improvements to their resumes and cover letters, among so much more, together with ongoing support.