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MELBOURNE MARKET UPDATE: Winter 2007
NATIONAL MARKET APPRAISAL
Well the weather might be cold, but the current construction & property market is hot, hot, HOT! Australia-wide, the market has been full of activity over the past year, with high demand across the board, and the skills shortage remaining the burning topic for the industry on the whole.
Whilst the SA market has remained consistent throughout the past year or so, the markets in VIC, NSW, QLD & WA have been very active & are accordingly struggling with very tight candidate markets.
Construction is now the 2nd fastest growing industry in Australia, after mining. Employment has strengthened across the board in the past year; jobs in general construction were up 6.6%, construction trade services was up 6.1% and building completion services lifted 4.1%.
Source: "The Age & The Sydney Morning Herald Employment Forecast", 2007, p.35
MELBOURNE MARKET HOTSPOTS
Several major projects are on the go this year (such as the Convention Centre, Royal Women's Hospital relocation, St Kilda Triangle project & the Olympic Park Rectangular Stadium); with various other major projects yet to be assigned, including the $850mil Royal Children's Hospital development & several others in the $400-500 mil range.
With this volume of work, many firms have been left with the challenge of filling numerous positions, with several key hotspots becoming evident:
EXECUTIVE LEVEL RECRUITMENT
Senior level people are always hard to find, but in this current active market, the issue seems to be more evident that ever. Demand has remained consistent across the board in both Victoria & NSW for candidates at the Associate / Executive level across all facets of Architecture & Interior Design.
However, despite the huge variety of senior level opportunity in the market, practices remain very focused on what they expect at this level; both in terms of job description & remuneration.
Most firms are prepared to pay at the high level, but they want value for money... from hands-on skills, to design brilliance, team leadership, market savvy and business development skills.
Also of note is the increasing attention from practices on performance-based incentives in addition to the salary component at this level.
MONEY MONEY MONEY
Following the tight candidate market conditions in the Construction industry, prospective employees are increasingly gaining bargaining power; salaries have continued to rise as the skills shortage has put pressure on firms to offer A-1 packages to prospective employees.
Indeed, we have updated our Rate & Salary Schedule Guidelines 3 times in the last year; in September & December 2006 & again in May of this year.
Firms have come under increasing pressure to attract and retain quality candidates, with many groups paying above & beyond market rates in order to secure skilled Architects, Draftspeople & Designers.
The snag for fanciful job-seekers pushing the almighty dollar is that, when a firm offers a higher-than-usual salary package, candidates WILL be expected to perform at the comparative level. Some of the younger ones pushing for (dare it be said) inappropriately high salaries, may be in for a rude awakening -- as clients will not be willing to comprise on quality.
As such, we are advising job-seekers to be aware of these issues, and to be realistic & well informed when discussing remuneration.
LOOKING GLOBAL... NEW ZEALAND
All reports indicate that the New Zealand market is continuing on its busy streak, though the Reserve Bank is doing its best to slow the residential building industry. Nonetheless, the apartment, retail and commercial sectors have continued as the strongest areas of growth, with a lot of Australian investment into the NZ building sector.
Key areas of demand include:
The construction industry in the UK is extremely buoyant, as it has been for the past couple of years. London continues to draw Architects and Interior Designers from across Europe and the rest of the world. Due to a booming economy, the industry is the busiest it has been for many years, and according to our sources, there has never been a better time to go to work in the UK!
Candidates at all levels are in demand; from graduates all the way up to Associate level Architects. The specific skill sets required are strong technical & design skills and usually AutoCAD or Microstation fluency (Vectorworks and ArchiCAD being very rarely used in the UK now). Candidates with five years plus experience are most in demand and are the best placed to find employment rapidly; however, less experience will not impede candidate's chances of finding a job, as long as they have good skills for their level. Salaries continue to rise as the shortage of candidates puts pressure on employers to offer good packages to prospective employees.
For the time being, the outlook in the UK construction market is very healthy -- with no anticipation for a downturn for the foreseeable future.
The explosion of activity in Dubai has certainly persisted well into 2007, with the region remaining a hotspot in the construction and building markets.
Many Australian companies are involved in numerous projects in Dubai, having entered into "joint ventures" with both local and non-local firms. Staffing demands have reflected this activity, with streams being constant and varied -- ranging from Interior Designers & Project Managers to Design & Project Architects at all levels of seniority.
Projects are huge and varied -- in the hotel sector alone there are plans to build 150 more hotels over the next five to seven years. Other new projects underway in Dubai are:
Just to name a few! ... So, will the bubble burst? It's a hotly debated issue! Suffice to say, all indications point to a continuation of this amazing construction, tourism & population boom well into the coming years.
The market in Asia has remained buoyant, and we have seen increasing activity levels across the region. Of particular note are the consistently busy markets in Hong Kong, Singapore & Mainland China, with steady increases in projects in Thailand as well.
We are currently in the throws of updating our website! Within a few months, the new Bloomfield Tremayne site will be up & running, offering a multitude of helpful new options for clients who are seeking advice about the market or to engage new staff.
Our website details each job we currently have available - (over 200 at the moment!) - & gives you up-to-date info about important goings-on in the market. On top of this, our new site will include a variety of other options including the ability to register your CV and contact details online, HR & employment Q&A, and featured clients, jobs and "top available applicants" of the week.
With these new functions, we hope to enhance the value of our website as a helpful resource for both clients & job seekers.
If you have any specific queries or require further information in respect to market conditions, employment opportunities or recruitment needs, please do not hesitate to contact one of our consulting team for further information.
We would love to hear any feedback, thoughts or other points of view that you may have on the above market conditions, or indeed any other articles that you may be interested in us posting on our news section in the future.
Please email Jacqueline Liddicoat at email@example.com to let us know what you think!