Engineering Recruitment – Market Commentary – April 2018

As with recent previous quarters, we remain very optimistic about the demand for engineering, manufacturing & construction professionals and we’re continuing to build our own internal team strongly as a result. We believe this will continue into at least the medium term future. The main contributors are solid business confidence and the pipeline of infrastructure projects.

Following are more specific observations of some of the key engineering & technical markets in which we operate.

Building Services

Demand for mechanical services candidates continues to be strong, especially from the contractor side. We have recently successfully placed a number of data centre shift operators and the level of demand looks set to continue as the number of these centres grows rapidly in Australia. We have roles in Sydney and Melbourne. So if you are an electrician or HVAC engineer, ideally with an HV ticket who wants to work easy lifestyle shifts then please get in touch!

We would also like to hear from you if you want to train as a draftsperson in Sydney. Some familiarity with AutoCAD, a love of mechanical building services and a willingness to learn is needed. In more senior roles we continue to seek sustainability engineers in Sydney and Canberra – if you can tune HVAC in a building, please contact us. Demand for mechanical and electrical HVAC service technicians remains very strong.

Construction & Engineering Design

There is an evident rise in the demand for candidates with local experience on state government civil infrastructure projects. The preference for local experience from the tier 2 and tier 1 construction companies is largely due to the local specifications of the various stakeholders involved. The majority of these construction companies are looking for site engineers and project engineers, who have completed at least one significant contract from start to finish, with relevant civil engineering or construction management qualifications.

Exceptional construction and project managers covering the major disciplines of mech, elec & civil with major road & rail or oil & gas industry experience, will raise interest in the eyes of the key players. Hiring managers from local and multi-national EPC(m) firms are looking for candidates with D&C, brownfield and greenfield experience.

Executive HR leaders and MD’s/GM’s of engineering & construction companies are becoming more open in how they attract skilled professionals to their teams, understanding they can’t rely on the perception of their brand alone. Organisations are becoming more creative around their compensation and benefits packages, realising that fewer human resources are available as multiple projects continue to be awarded.

*Civil & Structural Engineering Data

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*Project Management Data

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General Engineering & Drafting

Recruitment of qualified engineers has been mixed for us in the first quarter of 2018. The good news is that we have been recruiting graduates! At the more experienced levels, we have seen an uptick in demand for managers, especially those with device engineering experience in the medical industry. Other requirements are in areas involving mechanical services, process engineering, and security locking devices.

Drafting-wise there has been an increase in requirements for contract roles for between 2 and 6 months. The CAD packages vary, with AutoCAD and Solidworks still the most popular. Interestingly there is no obvious downward pressure on hourly rates.

*Engineering Management Data

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*Electrical Engineering Data

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*Mechanical Engineering Data

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Manufacturing

It seems to be popular belief that manufacturing is an old and dying industry and we can’t compete with lower wage nations. The facts state otherwise. The Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) jumped to 63.1 in March. This is a record level and the previous record of 62.1 was set in 2002. Anything above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing. The index has not been below 50 since 2016.

We are excited by the prospects of growth in recruitment in the sector, even though in Q1 2018 we saw the end of an era in the manufacture of cars locally. Overall, however, the manufacturing sector has showed no sign of slowing with continual requirements for a range of manufacturing personnel across Australia.

Based on our recent experience of jobs filled and upcoming jobs, we can’t pick a stand-out sector within manufacturing. We have placed operations managers, service technicians, maintenance & reliability engineers, engineering managers, branch managers, project engineers, sales engineers, and tradespeople in many different manufacturing niches in both Sydney and Melbourne, with growing interest from Brisbane based companies.

We do see particular strength in the smaller businesses that operate in the specialty CNC machining, metal pressing and metal cutting, and additive manufacture sector. We are aligned with a peak industry body that predicts substantial employment growth from apprenticeship level through to production management in the latter half of this year. We are particularly proud of placing a first-year apprentice with a major provider of CNC machine tools whose senior management are going to train him to become a CNC specialist.

*Manufacturing Management Data

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*Production, Planning & Scheduling Data

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Software & Hardware Engineering

The balance seems to have swung in recent months from a “buyer’s” to a “seller’s” market – the economy may be warming up. We think this puts the negotiating advantage on the candidate’s side. We see candidates with several offers and pressure to remain salary competitive is not an easy one for employers to learn. Demand for embedded developers has (surprisingly) been quite strong and top notch web (classic full stack) developers are highly sought-after.

Does this mean that you can pick up a good job without really trying? Definitely not – employers’ expectations remain very high and no one will hire you unless you can demonstrate commitment and genuine ability. Product development companies will only hire you if they are convinced that you can deliver something very special. Why should they do otherwise? The “getting a good job” game still has tough rules, and sadly some candidates have not really learned them and feel that the world owes them a good job. It doesn’t. Approach interviews with the mindset of seeking to convince recruiters and employers that you have what it takes and will do whatever you can to accomplish their business goals.

*Hardware Engineering Data

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*Software Engineering Data

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*Development & Programming Data

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