Some­one has to take charge

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Careers In Construction -

COM­PA­NIES in en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion are in des­per­ate need of project man­agers, says Lisa Barry, na­tional part­ner in charge of hu­man cap­i­tal with Deloitte.

‘‘ Ev­ery­one talks con­stantly about the short­age of en­gi­neers, but one thing that is of­ten over­looked is the equal short­age of project man­agers,’’ she says.

‘‘ It’s such a se­ri­ous is­sue - they are at least as short as en­gi­neers in all the key ar­eas.’’

For semi- skilled and un­skilled work­ers, the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion presents some great op­por­tu­ni­ties.

For longer than most peo­ple can re­mem­ber, the con­struc­tion in­dus­try has re­lied on huge pools of ca­sual and of­ten very mo­bile work­ers for its projects. Now, with this re­source all but gone, work­ers in th­ese ar­eas can eas­ily forge them­selves a ca­reer.

‘‘ Pay is get­ting pretty strong but there is also an op­por­tu­nity for un­skilled peo­ple to learn some skills along the way,’’ Ms Barry adds.

‘‘ As an em­ployee, they could grab the fast money but if they’re smart about it they can see which of th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions can do what for them. There is a good ar­gu­ment for semi- skilled and non- skilled work­ers at the mo­ment - all the trades and all the pro­fes­sion­als are just maxed out.’’

A pos­i­tive flow- on ef­fect from the short­age of un­skilled and semi- skilled work­ers in con­struc­tion an en­gi­neer­ing is that this seg­ment of the labour mar­ket is now em­pow­ered to ex­ert pres­sure on em­ploy­ers to im­prove their stan­dards for things like safety.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously, em­ploy­ees need to do the right thing by them­selves first and make sure they are only work­ing with safety- aware em­ploy­ers,’’ says Ms Barry.

‘‘ We’re see­ing with the skills short­age that all the of rep­u­ta­tional is­sues are start­ing to come into po­si­tion.

‘‘ One of the most in­ter­est­ing ques­tions we have now is ‘ How are em­ploy­ees re­spond­ing to the skills short­age? ’’

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