Inspired by several developed Asian cities, the NSW government’s vision for Sydney is to build high density living around major traffic hubs. As a result, investment in transport and infrastructure is taking off and demand for engineering and construction professionals will be high in 2018.
Huge projects underway, or on the horizon, include the M4 upgrade, Parramatta Light Rail, the Inland Rail project, major work in Sydney’s central business district as well as upgrades to train stations and signalling systems. There is also substantial investment in residential construction in Sydney’s suburbs and Parramatta’s central business district.
With so much ongoing activity, demand will be extraordinarily high in 2018 for contractors in engineering and construction. Salaries for professional engineers and related disciplines are increasing by up to 30% currently and employers will find it increasingly hard in 2018 to attract and retain qualified project engineers who are typically transient. Hiring managers must be fast, flexible and creative to secure the talent required to sustain these projects.
Project coordinators, signalling specialists and engineers will be in high demand in Queensland and will have remuneration expectations to match. Hiring managers will need to be fast, flexible and creative to attract qualified locals and import talent from interstate and overseas.
There has been some downward movement in the construction sector, due to the waning of the relative boom in residential high-rise construction. Some construction firms overextended themselves and have commenced rationalisation programs that may continue well into 2018.
In contrast, the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane project will generate employment opportunities in construction over several years. Once the demolition phase is completed, construction is expected to commence in late 2018 with demand for quality candidates to grow. Hiring managers will be seeking professionals who understand retail property and can integrate different elements into a major construction project.
The Queensland’s mining and resources sector is experiencing a measured recovery, with the much publicised Adani project receiving the green light. We expect this to boost employment opportunities in regional Queensland.
Several major construction projects in WA will be transitioning into design, building and commissioning stages during 2018 and 2019. This will result in heightened demand for construction supervisors, project engineers and contract administrators, although salary levels are expected to increase only 1-3% in 2018.
Senior and middle managers will experience less demand in 2018 as their responsibilities are progressively handed down to operational staff. We anticipate fewer roles for bid managers, estimating managers and general managers.
The design phase of construction projects in 2018 will increase the call for architectural professionals with specific skills, such as Revit technicians (as employers move away from AutoCAD), building information modelling managers and design architects with strong frontend design experience. Salaries for these specialisms have already risen in recent years and will likely enjoy a marginal increase in 2018.