Hot spots drive de­mand

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Careers In Construction -

THERE is a short­age of ex­pe­ri­enced, qual­i­fied en­gi­neers right across the board in Aus­tralia. How­ever, the skills short­age is most pro­nounced in in­fra­struc­ture and min­ing, due to the na­ture of the Aus­tralian econ­omy.

In south- east Queens­land alone, some $ 65 bil­lion worth of con­struc­tion and en­gi­neer­ing projects have been signed off on for the next 10 years.

Civil en­gi­neer­ing jobs are usu­ally avail­able with ex­pe­ri­ence in build­ing con­struc­tion, civil con­struc­tion ( es­pe­cially road con­struc­tion and main­te­nance), tun­nelling, traf­fic and trans­port, wa­ter and struc­tures highly sought af­ter.

‘‘ The skills short­age is still the big­gest thing in the en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try,’’ says Nick Elsdon, COO of Se­lect in­dus­trial.

Only now, though, pro­fes­sion­als in the en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion sec­tor are start­ing to reap a num­ber of ben­e­fits.

‘‘ Peo­ple with one or two years ex­pe­ri­ence are get­ting a lot more op­por­tu­ni­ties,’’ Mr Elsdon says. ‘‘ Grad­u­ates now will get jobs a lot quicker. It’s al­low­ing peo­ple to move through the field faster than has typ­i­cally been the case.’’

Elec­tri­cal, me­chan­i­cal and chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing po­si­tions are also avail­able, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas as­so­ci­ated with in­fra­struc­ture and build­ing such as build­ing ser­vices or wa­ter treat­ment.

The con­struc­tion in­dus­try ( which in­cludes car­pen­ters and join­ers, elec­tri­cians, plumbers, builders, painters and dec­o­ra­tors, con­creters and brick­lay­ers) em­ploys over 845,000 peo­ple in Aus­tralia. There is, how­ever, a labour short­age of skilled trades peo­ple, mak­ing this a highly ac­ces­si­ble in­dus­try.

This is a re­gion­ally di­verse in­dus­try, with op­por­tu­ni­ties in both metropoli­tan and re­gional ar­eas. Around 40 per­cent of con­struc­tion jobs are out­side state cap­i­tal cities, with the ma­jor­ity of work be­ing in NSW, Vic­to­ria and Queens­land. Ar­chi­tects con­tinue to be in high de­mand right across the coun­try, as are town plan­ners.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties con­tinue

to

be most abun­dant in the min­ing sec­tor, where em­ploy­ers are be­ing pres­sured to of­fer creative pack­ages that go be­yond just salary.

This is both be­cause em­ploy­ees want more in the way of things such as work- life bal­ance, as well as the fact that com­pa­nies can’t af­ford to pay any more any­way.

In pe­tro­leum en­gi­neer­ing, for in­stance, grad­u­ates can com­mand salaries well into the range of $ 200K.

Mr Elsdon says that many of Se­lect’s re­cruit­ment clients have started tak­ing mat­ters into their own hands when it comes to highly spe­cialised roles and are do­ing their own head­hunt­ing.

The cur­rent min­ing boom is largely con­cen­trated in Queens­land and WA and com­pa­nies with op­er­a­tions there are vir­tu­ally invit­ing staff to write their own con­tracts.

More com­pa­nies are fly­ing staff in and out and be­tween re­mote lo­ca­tions. Pack­ages tend to be less gen­er­ous in Vic­to­ria, South Aus­tralia and Tas­ma­nia where the skills short­age is yet to re­ally hit hard.

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