Engineering Recruitment – Market Commentary – July 2020


During this last quarter, a significant milestone within Australia Wide was reached with one of our Directors, Greig Connell, deciding to retire from the business. Greig worked for the company since 1987 and had dealt with hundreds of clients and thousands of candidates, always with the same passionate, professional, and result focused approach. We have been inundated with well wishes from colleagues, candidates and clients alike who were consistent with their high praise, gratitude and respect for a wonderful career and a great friendship. We warmly salute Greig and wish him and Mary all the very best for a long and happy retirement.    

The COVID-19 pandemic continued during this quarter, especially in Victoria which is experiencing lockdown 2.0. Recruitment activities had actually increased during the latter part of the quarter where we saw increased levels of new enquiries and clients re-examining roles which were previously put on hold. However, the past few weeks has seen another slowdown in recruitment decisions. One interesting phenomenon however we have seen throughout is where clients still have projects to deliver and customers’ milestones to achieve, however with the uncertainty hanging over the general economy, these clients are more and more looking at contract positions rather than appointing permanent staff. This is one of our strengths as we have a strong and deep pool of networked talent in our engineering contractor base. Please do not hesitate to contact should this be of interest to you (from a candidate or company perspective). We pride ourselves in filling short term contract roles in the same professional and sustainable manner that we fill permanent positions. 

During this quarter we also commenced our Engineering Career Journey podcast series, where we have a conversation with very senior engineers in regards to their engineering career and related journey. The intent of our podcasts is to give tips and ideas based on real experience to the next generation of engineers as to how to progress and enhance their career in today’s engineering world. We do hope they might be of interest, and here are the links to the first five: 

Bryon Price, Strategic Development Director, AG Coombs

Dean McCarroll, Managing Director, Okuma Australia

Vin Vassallo, Group Executive Development, Transurban

Cheryl Davis, Director Customer Engineering, Amazon Web Services

Eamonn Kelly, General Manager, Melbourne Water

Wishing everyone well during these challenging times and encouraging anyone looking for help to please reach out. Even if it is assisting you update your latest CV, proof reading cover letters or wanting to fill a short-term contract position, please contact any of us and it will be our pleasure to help. We hope you enjoy this quarter’s market commentary. 

Engineering & Manufacturing Operations

When COVID-19 first hit, every single aspect of everyday life changed. As we began to see a slight glimmer of hope in decreasing infection rates, positivity appeared to creep back into the jobs market. Albeit, companies appeared to prefer to put on contractors due to the ‘unknown’.

Fast forward to now, and Melbourne’s infection rate appears to be spiralling out of control with Sydney’s infection numbers increasing only slowly. Permanent jobs appear to be very ‘few and far between’, and contract opportunities appear to be on the increase. No specific industry appears to be doing better than the other in terms of engineering & operations opportunities, although we currently have some interesting roles including a Systems Integration Engineer in the food/packaging/FMCG automation sector and some positions with a company developing & building high tech electro-mechanical machines used in the fight against COVID-19.

The majority of recently placed contractors are now working from home. These roles are generally CAD or design-based roles – Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Industrial Engineers, Civil & Structural Engineers and Design Draftspeople. Is the home the office of the future? It definitely appears to be working well all over the world!

With no precedence to refer to, COVID-19 has created an unknown future in terms of what might happen to tomorrow’s job market. Stay safe everyone.

Building & Mechanical Services

In Victoria we have seen lockdowns, relaxing of restrictions and then an even tighter lockdown and restrictions. In New South Wales the clouds are also gathering. This has created a large amount of uncertainty and roles that were going to be filled have now been postponed. Even companies that were recruiting aggressively at the start of 2020 have slowed down and are taking their time and considering carefully whether they should take on another person(s).  

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. 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.                 


Our technology team at Australia Wide Engineering Recruitment remain focused, positive, and in constant contact with clients and candidates alike. Although permanent recruitment opportunities have decreased since the start of COVID-19, there are some companies still hiring. Unfortunately, just as we thought things may start improving, once again we were hit with another wave – this time seemingly presenting an even greater challenge. 

Within the last 2-3 months we have seen a rise in contracting opportunities.  Hiring contractors allow an employer to fill their roles sooner than later, and addresses their need for flexibility in our newly changing business environment.  It also allows employers to test new positions and, investigate potential plans for growth opportunities. Hiring a contractor initially can result in a successful, permanent position having given the contractor the opportunity to demonstrate his/her abilities.

In the past couple of weeks, we have placed Senior Hardware Engineers and even Full Stack Software Engineers. We are in the process of actively increasing our database and therefore should you wish to connect with the Technology Recruiters specialising in the Software/Firmware/Hardware Engineering domain please don’t hesitate to do so.