Nick Redpath talks to Shortlist

  • 02 Mar 2021
  • redpath
  • 2019

How is overall hiring demand across in the construction space at the moment? Any significant changes in the past 12 months?

Demand is still very strong, despite what the media says! The highest demand is coming from the infrastructure sector but clients who have exposure to government projects, commercial office and the industrial market have a number of requirements that range from site roles to executive positions. The obvious and most profound change in the last 12 months has been the decline in the residential market – we’re currently managing 65% less roles in this sector compared to 18 months ago. That’s not to say that established residential developers who are well capitalised won’t continue to launch projects in locations that are close to commercial hubs and have good transport links.

Where are the biggest gaps between hiring demand and candidate supply – by role/speciality/geography/sector?

Candidates who have strong experience in infrastructure and government build projects are in demand nationally. Clients who specialise in this work are far more open to facilitating interstate moves and for specialist positions they will consider overseas talent due to the scarcity of local options. We’re also experiencing continued demand from the commercial and industrial clients in Sydney and Melbourne continues to be incredibly robust across the board. Perth and Brisbane seem relatively ‘flat’, but we’re hoping that may change as Sydney and Melbourne’s affordability and congestion challenges, force people to consider an interstate shift.

What are some of the main factors driving demand in these areas at the moment?

  •  The infrastructure boom – according to most reports, this equates to $70bn over the next decade. This spend is essential as the population exceeds 25 million and continues to grow at a rate that is greater than most developed countries.
  •  Sydney reinventing itself – Sydney is finally becoming the international city it always had the potential to be. It’s almost unrecognisable compared to 10 years ago and it’s only half way through its transformation.
  •  Victoria’s’ population growth – the recent growth is the fastest since the Gold Rush and the state has done a fantastic job at keeping pace to cater for this growth.

What movements have you seen around salaries/rates over the past 12 months?

  •  Infrastructure – 8-10%
  •  Commercial Construction – 4-6%
  •  Residential Construction – 10-15% less

Overall, what are the biggest challenges for construction recruitment specialists currently, in your view? What are some areas of opportunity?

  •  Dearth of talent in the Infrastructure and commercial construction sectors
  •  Visas. The changes and ensuing confusion when recruiting overseas talent; as well as the extortionate cost!
  •  The uncertainty about a Labour government and the potential negative effects on the industry
  •  Candidates continue to conduct a job search in a scattergun fashion – it doesn’t benefit anyone, most importantly, them.
  •  To look beyond the short-term negative noise and believe in Australia’s future as the fundamentals are extremely positive. The population will reach nearly 30m by 2030. We’ll need to increase the supply of residential stock, continue to improve infrastructure; we’ll require more schools, hospitals, and a greater investment in regional towns and cities – the list goes on and it all bodes well!

What are your predictions for the sector over the coming months?

The residential market is hitting consumer confidence and the up-and-coming Federal election has led to an air of uncertainty in business – not a great combination. However, I think the residential slowdown will plateau by the end of the year and there won’t be a contagion effect to other asset classes. We’re now in a more ‘normalised’ market, which was always going to happen following the boom of the last 8 years. Back to news