Technical & Engineering Recruitment Market Commentary – January 2018

Recent media reports are boasting of business confidence and in our experience, since returning from the Christmas / New Year break we certainly support this. Clients are investing in the recruitment of staff for casual and permanent employment. Australian companies are continuing to develop successful and innovative products which stack up well internationally. Others are pursuing major projects in the rail and roads sectors of infrastructure. All this is great news for engineering, manufacturing and technical talent, but the clear message we get from our clients is that they are not willing to compromise and are prepared to wait for the right calibre of candidate.

On another note, our recruitment methodology is changing with more emphasis on searching for candidates rather than advertising roles so it is vital that candidates update their online profiles and resumes. Otherwise, we might miss you because your details are out of date!

Following are our observations in the areas for which we actively recruit. 

Engineering Design and Construction

The engineering design and construction industry has been very active, particularly across Victoria and New South Wales. With the recent award of major infrastructure projects such as the West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne at $6B and The Melbourne Quarter, a significant mixed development precinct, demand for qualified professionals in the building and civil infrastructure market is soaring and shows no sign of slowing.

Skills and qualifications in demand range from site engineers and site managers to PM’s with a rising requirement for CA’s. Quantity surveyors accustomed to the international British and Asian systems should seek out CA positions in Australia as the equivalent.

Whilst it is becoming an employee’s market, organisations are offering salary increments for movers but budgets are still contained, employers like to see some loyalty and candidates that have completed at least one full project.

There will likely be skill shortages and with the number of cranes in the skies, it’s particularly an exciting time to be in the industry across the eastern coast of Australia.

Project Management Data **

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Manufacturing

Although the manufacturing market is widely reported as in decline, which is based largely on the demise of the local car industry, there are many opportunities in other areas of manufacture where there are continual requirements for personnel across Australia.

These figures vary state to state, with Victoria, NSW and Queensland leading the way. ANZ and ABS job surveys indicate that there are currently more job vacancies and corresponding advertisements than at any time over the last 4 year period.

We have succeeded in placing production managers and are now seeking production supervisors and skilled tradespersons particularly those with CNC metal cutting machine skills both in Melbourne and Sydney. Industries include rubber manufacture, road signage, bedding and electronics product assembly to name a few.

Manufaturing Managers Data **

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Production, Planning & Scheduling Data **

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Software and Hardware Engineering

The hiring climate remains unpredictable as companies plan out their needs for the second half of the financial year. Demand for software and web services specialists remains active, and yet the opposite is true for embedded and firmware developers. It is becoming almost normal now for businesses to wish to hire candidates who are more than “one trick ponies”, so we see nowadays position briefs specifying a combination of skills, that do not always go together easily! The classic “full stack developer” is a case in point, where you are expected to do front end and back end and everything in between. The situation in terms of the balance between demand and supply has balanced out from the oversupply of available personnel, say, 3 to 4 years ago, and while it is not exactly a seller’s market (ie where the candidate rules the roost), a good candidate who has the ability to get his / her message across clearly and can demonstrate ability, can secure a good deal.

Electronic hardware design openings are becoming spasmodic, which is a pity (or is it, as technology inevitably shifts more and more to a “soft” or “virtual” state of affairs?). Salaries are slowly moving ahead and much more in the technology space, one would guess, than in the broader workforce where salary stagnation seems to be endemic. Without any significant political impasses from Canberra, there is a good chance that with a fair following wind the next 5 to 6 months might be quite upbeat. Let’s just keep on saying that and it may just happen.

Hardware Engineering Data **

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Software Engineering Data **

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Developer / Programmers Data **

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Engineering and Drafting

Building / Mechanical Services
Victoria

Requirements for building services engineers continue to be scarce in consulting. The major consultants are advising “steady as she goes” regarding staffing requirements and they anticipate that they will remain so for some time. In contrast, demand from the mechanical services contractor side has been very high. We have successfully recruited project managers, service managers, mid-level engineers and estimators all with experience of mechanical services. We are seeking specialists in the areas of sustainability and building tuning ranging from senior technician level to management, as well as the ongoing service technicians and data center operators.

NSW

We continue actively recruiting trade qualified technicians in the MEP discipline for both contractors and consultancies. The contractor market is definitely more aggressive because of larger projects and award of substantial service contracts.
Requirements for senior site staff and project managers is strong too.

Mechanical Engineering Data **

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Electrical / Electronic Engineering Data **

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Engineering Manager Data **

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Civil / Structural Engineering Data **

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Drafting

The local market for drafters has shown signs of an uptick for contractors, for us, mainly in the construction industry both residential and commercial. Most contract periods are short term, but we do have an outstanding requirement for a multi-year contract to produce as-builts for a large building in the Melbourne CBD.

Skills required include AutoCAD, Solidworks and, in one instance, CATIA.

At the trainee level, we are tasked with finding candidates who want to establish a career in mechanical services with multiple roles in Sydney and Brisbane.

Engineering, Executive and International

We have a number of high-level roles with salaries in the $200k plus market, that require top performers. These include a head of structural engineering in Melbourne and project managers for international roles for airport buildings.

In the $100,000 to $150,000 salary range we are continually seeking engineers from the sustainability sector, road tanker design – a great role near the Murray, systems engineers in the road traffic monitoring sector and rail industry.

At the Graduate level, we have experienced demand for new graduates who want to carve out a career in the print industry in NSW and the building services / mechanical services sectors in Melbourne and Sydney. These companies are seeking to fill multiple positions.