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Attracting & Retaining Construction Professionals – Melbourne


The year 2020 was one to never forget, although we’d rather not remember at all! There were mass job losses, construction projects pulled, postponed or canned altogether. Both international and interstate borders were slammed shut. It could be said that Victorian’s perhaps had the toughest time of the entire nation, with our lockdowns and national uncertainty.


Cut through to today (May 2021) and we are closing the financial year off, construction projects in Victoria are well and truly back online, the jobs market is hot again and candidates are becoming increasingly harder to find. Anyone that’s hiring right now will know this first hand.

International borders are closed and many skilled people skipped the state of Victoria during 2020 due to our extensive lockdowns. So whilst the new Queenslander’s are sunning themselves in “The Sunshine State” with their new jobs and new lifestyle, we’re down here with 4 degree temperatures and a heap of hungry businesses who have been longing to get back to it for months!

What companies want;

The candidate market in Commercial Construction is so hot right now, but in a way that’s actually quite hard to predict. Companies are asking for the most ambitious, driven and experienced professionals because “…we’ve just picked up another two projects and don’t have anyone to run it” or “we dropped a team off last year and now we need to rebuild” so suddenly it has become a very candidate short market and the recruitment game has had to adapt strategically. Job boards and adverts simply do not work in a market like this. It’s all about connections, phone calls, tapping people on the shoulder and having a good network.


We call them candidates, but they’re not really a candidate until they’re in the mix for a new job – they’re quite simply a professional in the industry.

Many of these professionals were stood down last year, put on reduced hours, reduced pay or even made redundant. They had it tough. Decisions made in 2020 to join an organisation they may not have ordinarily considered joining, has them feeling a huge sense of loyalty to their new employer – they can’t leave when they’ve been looked after throughout 2020. Others have simply left town, some have even left the industry to pursue other avenues!

So what do we do?

Firstly, organisations need to be smart about hanging on to their current employees. The cost of rehiring, retraining and the loss of a superstar could be detrimental right now – so hang on to your people!

For me as a recruiter, I have been forging relationships throughout my career, so I’m staying connected with the people I know are good at what they do. I’m specifically targeting professionals from organisations that are direct competitors of my clients and I’m finding out exactly what each organisation we’re representing is offering their employees. Headhunting is at an all time high!

What do your current/prospective employees want?

  • Flexibility – Picking the kids up from school, dropping them at kinder. These parents got to do that in 2020 and they want to continue.
  • Remuneration – There is such a fluctuation in salaries right now, but the main thing is a better salary – no one is accepting lower salaries to move in this volatile market.
  • Working from home – Not a huge thing for most of our commercial construction employees, but Estimators & Contract Administrators are asking for this.
  • Fuel Cards & Car Allowances – Project Managers are driving between construction sites and they want their employer to foot the fuel bill. Not all construction firms offer this, maybe you should.
  • NO Saturdays – Too many Site Managers are working 6 day weeks for a whole project, because the builder they work for, has won a project in a competitive tender market, with a fast tracked program.
  • Salary Reviews/Bonuses – Some companies are offering salary reviews based on project delivery, OHS, KPIs and even project budgets.
  • Saying THANK YOU – A simple phone call from the Managing Director to say “Hey, I know you’ve worked extra hard recently and helped us out. Thank you.” It goes such a long way to make a person feel valued!

Now more than ever, is probably a time to partner with a good recruiter who knows the market and has a good industry network. If 3D Commercial can help you grow as a construction business, or assist you as a construction professional in to a new role, then feel free to get in touch with us today!