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Rise in employer confidence in New Zealand's engineering and construction sectors

Cobalt Arrows Although hiring activity has been increasing steadily over the past ten months, it’s in the last three particularly where we have seen a real surge in activity, which has found another gear again since the election.

There are a couple of interesting points about this uplift in hiring activity. Firstly, it’s not confined just to the main centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. We’ve seen instructions coming in from Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Timaru and all the way down South in Queenstown.

Secondly there is increasing parity of salaries between the regions and the main centres. Give or take a cost of living margin. The demand that exists is for the same skills no matter where the demand is coming from which is creating a highly competitive market for talent.

High demand for front end project delivery skills

New Zealand’s talent pool for project delivery skills is starting to show its limitations. The saving grace might be that New Zealand is without a doubt on the radar of the migrant professionals who scan the world for buoyant project markets. Pleasingly a lot of these professionals are prepared to price in the intrinsic value of New Zealand’s high lifestyle currency at the expense of ex-pat packages found elsewhere.

People are attracted by the roles on offer and kept here by the lifestyle. This should start having a net positive effect on the depth of the talent pool which is critical given that a lot of employers will still only hire NZ experienced staff. It might be slightly controversial to say but we feel that more employers should be open minded to the suitability and feasibility of hiring professionals from overseas. It will only be to the benefit to the construction and engineering sectors as a whole.

Hot spots

The hot spot demand areas are concentrated on those front end project delivery skills including:

  1. Architectural Design/Drafting
  2. Project Management
  3. Pre-contract Quantity Surveying
  4. Civil and Structural design skills

These are being sought at all levels and we have noticed a slight trend in the past month with instructions for candidates at an Associate level and above becoming more frequent. Employers need business cultivating/client management skills and are looking for future business leaders.

We do have reasonable demand from our construction company client base but it is not quite as pointed as the clients operating pre-contract. This will obviously change and change quickly as projects pass from pre-contract to post contract stages.

The final observation we’ve made is the broad increase of positivity in the market. Like confidence it’s a contagious commodity and its multiplier effect is spreading across the property and infrastructure sectors. It incubates creativity and idea generation and it can only be a good thing for the intellectual currency and momentum of our markets.

Cobalt New Zealand expansion

These are heady times for New Zealand’s Property & Infrastructure sectors and Cobalt is actively investing in people and partnerships to ensure that we too are increasing our capability for the benefit of our client base. This includes the opening of a new office in Wellington to go with our Auckland and Christchurch bases and the hiring of four new consultants across our real estate, engineering and constructions service lines.

We’re committed to partnering closely with our clients to ensure that they secure the human capital needed to take advantage of the market conditions.

Please contact your nearest office today to arrange a meeting to discuss your resourcing requirements or the current opportunities available.

Written by Guy Davidson, Director – Cobalt Recruitment

This entry was posted on Friday, November 7th 2014 and is filed under Cobalt News. You can subscribe to our RSS 2.0 news feed here.