Infrastructure boom driving job growth in NSW and QLD

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Investment in infrastructure projects is at an all time high with the NSW and QLD Governments set to inject significant funding into the economy, driving recruitment activities across both states. We speak with Jane Lowney, Manager Resources, Engineering, Construction & Supply in Brisbane and David Taylor, Manager for Procurement, Supply Chain, Logistics & Manufacturing in Sydney for Robert Walters for their insights on what this means for the jobs market in these areas for 2018.

 

What projects are driving growth for NSW and QLD?

For NSW there are many infrastructure projects underway including 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 says Dave. “There has also been substantial residential construction in Sydney’s suburbs and Parramatta’s central business district” 

In Queensland, Jane commented “following a lull in infrastructure investment, Queensland is now ramping up on a significant number of road and rail infrastructure projects”. The Cross River Rail, Inland Rail and Brisbane Metro projects will draw resources from Queensland, also creating a local job market boost in 2018 and beyond.  Queensland Government has committed significant funding to dam upgrade programs as well as social infrastructure and water security projects.   Given the volume of projects coming to market concurrently, this will generate significant employment opportunities in 2018 and beyond.

Which specific roles will be in demand?

Demand in NSW will be extraordinarily high in 2018 for contractors in engineering and construction with salaries for professional engineers and related disciplines increasing by up to 30%. Dave highlighted that employers will find it increasingly hard to attract and retain qualified project engineers who are typically transient. 

In contrast, in Queensland it is expected salary growth will remain steady. However, Jane indicated that procurement professionals with information technology experience will continue to be in high demand and enjoy above-average salary growth. 

Many Queensland infrastructure projects are still in their infancy, which will create significant demand for professionals with front-end project procurement skills, including contracts and negotiations. Jane highlighted that those with expertise in large-scale transactions, PPP and alliancing models as well as technical tunnelling skills will be highly valued in the market and rewarded accordingly.

Rail projects running across the north east part of Australia will see strong demand for project coordinators, signalling specialists and engineers with 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. 

Which other sectors are benefiting from the impact of growth in infrastructure?

It is expected that job prospects in sectors such as HR, legal and administration will also benefit from this investment in infrastructure. Legal will boom through property and construction advice on infrastructure activity e.g. Clayton Utz advising on the transformation of Parramatta central business district as well as the Pacific Highway upgrade, Ashurst is working on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project.

With many projects planned and underway in NSW and QLD, there is an expectation from HR functions that union negotiations in 2018 will increase and from an OH&S perspective, demand will grow for safety specialists. The increased project activity will generate growth in human resources roles in 2018 with the emphasis on establishing an effective project culture from day one and minimising staff attrition.

Finally, project teams will be seeking project administration and document control experience; as such we expect demand will increase for professionals.

 

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