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How QLD companies can secure the right construction talent in a tight market
24 May 2016
In Brisbane's buoyant construction market, we are seeing high levels of activity across both the multi-residential and commercial spheres. Housing development is continuing at a steady pace, while areas such as aged care, student accommodation and commercial office works are taking off. This has led to a high demand for workers with experience working across projects of this nature: however, there are not enough candidates to meet this demand.
In a talent-short market, it can be difficult for companies to source candidates with an exact set of skills or experience specifications. This doesn't mean that suitable candidates aren't available, it just means that hiring managers need to think outside the box when it comes to evaluating experience and skills of applicants.
Unmet demand for talent across construction sector
In recent years, many commercial construction professionals have moved interstate, seeking work in the booming NSW or Victoria markets, or have sought to enjoy the spoils of the resources boom and found work in the mining sector.
This has drastically reduced the pool of available talent in Brisbane, yet many businesses are unwilling to consider candidates whose experience does not exactly align with their expectations.
Construction businesses typically aren't interested in applicants who have been part of a $1 billion mining project, or who have built waste water systems; they want to see individuals with demonstrable recent experience working on high-rise and multi-level apartments. Hiring managers immediately understand how this experience can relate to the project they're sourcing for and can quickly evaluate candidate suitability.
This underscores one of the biggest challenges hiring managers are facing in the QLD construction industry - they are time poor, and under immense pressure to secure resources quickly, so as not to cause project delays.
Securing talent in a tight market
If you are a hiring manager and identify a candidate with the right skills for a project, it is highly advisable to move quickly to secure them. Understand that these candidates are likely in high demand, and you may need to pay a premium to get them on board. Time spent going back and forth with the candidate, negotiating salary etc may result in them being approached for work elsewhere.
As the mining boom slows down, there is real opportunity for hiring managers to secure highly-skilled workers as long as they are willing to think differently about the skills that they're seeking. Some of the most common skills or experience I am seeing requests for are skills in Commercial Contract Administration (ie Health Care, Aged Care and Schools [BER]), and Estimating, within either residential or commercial, which is currently experiencing a skills shortage. While most ex-mining workers will not possess these directly, there is a high likelihood they will have analogous talents. You just need to know what you're looking for.
There is real opportunity for hiring managers to secure highly-skilled workers as long as they are willing to think differently about the skills that they're seeking
While this does require hiring managers to dig a little deeper into applicant's history, you may find yourself securing highly-skilled talent that not only comes cheaper than their construction-industry counterparts, they can also bring a fresh perspective to projects.
Certainly, there is some onus on the applicant to make the hiring manager's job easier and clearly articulate how their experience is relevant to a new industry or sector if they are seeking employment outside their usual area. However, it is the hiring manager who is supposed to have an in-depth understanding of what the role is and the skills it requires, and having an understanding of how different kinds of experience can result in comparable skill sets is crucial if you want to win the 'war for talent' and secure outstanding candidates.
Read more about our expertise recruiting for the Property & Construction industry. Looking for your next role? Find out how to make yourself stand out as an applicant in the construction industry.