Engineering Recruitment – Market Commentary – July 2019

The engineering recruitment market has been giving mixed messages. Business conditions did rebound post the election and the implementation of the first of two recent interest rate cuts resulted in real improvements in the recent employment conditions. The NAB business conditions index for June improved in excess of 3 points with the employment component being the most favourable part. However, the AIG Performance of Manufacturing Index fell 3 points which highlighted the first mild reduction in manufacturing conditions and the lowest benchmark in three years. With these mixed indicators, we note that we remain extremely busy and continue to seek our own internal improvements and process efficiencies which we can thereby share with our clients and candidates. We are steadfast in continuing our mission to deliver high level candidates to premium clients right across Australia. We are proud to reflect that during the last quarter we estimate we achieved our 40,000th placement and our next one remains to us as important as our very first one. Hope you enjoy the following pieces from our consultants in their specific targeted segments.

Technology Commentary
Demand for software, firmware and web developers continues unabated. This is likely to remain constant now that election and EOFY distractions are past. Nearly all sectors of technology product development seem to be in an active growth phase despite the rather gloomy economic weather reports in recent weeks. We have been struck by the perpetual demand for embedded developers with all the usual suspects of FreeRTOS, Linux and “bare metal” programming all being called in for questioning! In similar vein, fullstack web developers seem to have a wide choice as to where they can ply their trade. Employer and work style options seem plentiful for Java and Javascript specialists, particularly in the more corporate surroundings of the CBD. Having said that, we recently heard of a number of IT contractors being “let go” (aka “employment terminations”) by a very well-known CBD corporate entity. Our interest remains in “engineers” and “computer scientists” for web development roles, as opposed to more generic IT specialists. Our clients come to us to find the best “engineers” and “computer scientists” that ready money can buy. And we tend to avoid dipping into the broader IT hiring sector. Indeed, we are very keen to speak to computer science based fullstack developers to work on front and back end applications and interfaces for an embedded IoT platform! Any offers?

Engineering & Operations Commentary
From an engineering and operations perspective, 2019 has been an extremely unpredictable and inconsistent year regarding recruitment and the availability of positions. Some months have been very strong while others have been less than ordinary. Many factors have been flagged as being behind the inconsistency (federal elections, new financial year, soft economy, U.S./China trade war, etc.), and these factors have all occurred within a similar time-frame. The ‘Commonwealth Bank PMI’ suggests a slowdown led by the manufacturing sector with “factory output growth easing to a 31-month low and slipping closer to stagnation”. A slowdown in manufacturing will have direct implications on engineering and operations-based roles, and this in turn confirms the unpredictability and inconsistency in engineering and operations recruitment at the moment. The enquiries themselves have been equally spread among both engineering and operations-based roles, with a distinct lack of qualified and experienced candidates expressing their interest for many of the roles which we have advertised. This again could be due to economic uncertainty, and it would appear to be more isolated to Victoria and New South Wales. The number of qualified and experienced candidates from Western Australia and Adelaide appears to have increased dramatically over the last twelve months, when compared against the number of applicants from similar roles in previous years. It is very hard to predict where to from here, nevertheless the ‘Performance of Manufacturing Index’ indicates contraction after 33 consecutive months of stability or growth!

Consulting Engineering Commentary
There is a whole lot of good news in the Victorian construction and engineering market judging by the number of cranes in Melbourne and suburban skylines. Occupations in high demand are structural and civil engineers in particular, with the majority of employers now requiring structural and civil engineers to have a chartered status. To find out more about who this will impact and what you need to do to be prepared, please click on the following link: https://www.dtf.vic.gov.au/professional-engineers-registration-bill-2019

Mechanical Services Commentary
The Latrobe Valley is booming! Yes, you read that right! If you have control systems or mechanical reliability experience in the paper and pulp industry or aeronautical experience and are looking to get out of industries that are closing down in the Valley, then visit our website’s job board and apply to the roles advertised there.  We still have a big demand for HVAC service technicians (both mechanical and electrical), sprinkler fitters and alarm panel technicians across Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. We have been saying this for a while, but it is still true – the data centre sector is booming! We are seeking candidates for permanent roles, particularly in Sydney. You don’t need to be HVAC qualified – you could be an A grade electrician or suitably experienced process operator who has operated a range of critical machinery. Most of the roles are shift based, but the shift rosters are a ripper!! At the more senior levels, we are continually on the lookout for mechanical services contract/client/account managers, project managers, site managers and project engineers, fire services specialists, building advisory consultants and building efficiency and tuning experts.