Leadership Blog

Posted By: Chris O'Sullivan | on February 19 2019

Putting your best foot forward

As a recruiter in the engineering sector, I have noticed a misalignment of supply and demand. The civil infrastructure sector is booming, everyone is looking for an extra civil engineer for their growing number of projects. But if Civil Engineers are in such high demand, why is it so hard for some highly qualified engineers to get a job? As a candidate, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of landing that ideal role.

With continuing investment from state and local government, we are seeing continued growth of construction projects across Australia which looks like continuing for the foreseeable future. These projects include new road developments, road upgrades and rehabilitation works, buildings, dams and other complex structures, all of which require experienced engineers to oversee the design and construction.

We are also seeing a resurgence in the mining sector in Queensland and Western Australia, with mines restarting, expanding, and new mines being developed, again all of these requiring experienced civil and other engineers.

Although this is fantastic for the economy, companies are struggling to find suitably qualified engineers. There is a nationwide shortage of civil engineers, with engineering job vacancies higher than any other employment market throughout the country with civil engineering positions dominating this landscape.

At the same time, engineering companies are becoming more discerning with their hiring choices even though there is a current skills shortage. There is a big demand now for Australian engineers with ‘soft skills’ like communication, digital literacy and critical thinking. Additionally, engineering companies in remote and regional areas are increasingly focused on culture fit to ensure their current teams are not too disrupted. In Cairns especially, most engineering offices are fairly small (under 25 staff) and they need someone with a broad range of experience that can work on any project, they can’t afford to have a specialist.

What can you do? If you are an engineer, looking for your next opportunity, you need to be focusing on developing your soft skills. Take a course to learn how to use the various programs used in engineering, broaden your areas of experience, develop your communication skills by attending a toastmaster’s session, exercise your brain in other areas to develop more critical thinking skills.

We are finding that if you develop your soft skills you will put yourself in a much stronger position in the eyes of your next employer.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts or experiences as a civil engineer looking for work. What have you done to secure an interview?


Stephen Crowe
Engineering Recruitment Specialist
07 4088 1571