Experis, a ManpowerGroup company that works in professional resourcing, has found that demand for general engineers in the resource sector has fallen in the last six months as uncertainty in commodity prices and a tough funding environment have affected project development.
As projects were put on hold, the number of available engineers increased across disciplines in engineering, procurement and construction management.
Experis Australia general manager Doug Spahn said the high level of demand for general engineers seen last year had dropped off while companies were targeting fewer candidates for more specific roles.
“Highly specialised positions in engineering subfields such as subsea and piping stress engineers are still needed, however, there is no single job family in demand across the board,” he said.
“Roles that are available are niche and differ from company to company, depending on specific projects and the particular stage those projects are at.”
There are still a few major projects looking to snap up more general engineers, including Hancock Prospecting’s $A10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia and Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG venture on the Pilbara coast.
One upside for companies is that with the abundance of general engineers available in the market, the days of ever-rising salaries may be coming to a close.
“Those employers with vacant positions will have more candidates to choose from and may put a brake on salary increase in the sector,” Spahn said.
With activity likely to increase across the industry in the third quarter this year as projects come back online, employers need to be looking ahead to develop a talent pipeline while prospective employees need to make sure they are a good fit for the job.
“For candidates, it’s important to target roles that are specific to your skills set and use your networks,” Spahn said.
“Keeping your online profiles up-to-date and attending networking events regularly will mean you can uncover roles before they hit the broader market.”