Skills shortage and fierce competition for engineering talent

Organisations in the engineering and mining sectors will face a significant skills shortage and fierce competition for top talent in 2011, according to a global salary survey recently compiled by international recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.

The annual salary survey reports that competition for quality professionals will be extremely strong in 2011 due to a number of large projects scheduled to move into construction phase in quick succession.

According to Robert Walters’ managing director – Australia, James Nicholson, this demand is expected to result in significant salary increases and will be experienced across a number of industries and regions.

“We expect to see strong demand in the Western Australian and Queensland oil and gas market, and most of the Australian mining and rail industries. We will also see increased recruitment activity within power, water infrastructure and port development companies due to continued investment in these sectors, such as BG Group’s $15 billion investment in coal-seam gas in Queensland,” Mr Nicholson said.

“With such strong competition for top talent, companies will need to avoid lengthy recruitment processes in order to secure their preferred candidates. We also expect that many organisations that have previously resisted sourcing candidates from overseas will be forced to do so.”

The survey found that recruitment activity and salaries rose across several industries in 2010, due to ongoing growth and skills shortages. Hiring levels were particularly high within the oil and gas, rail engineering and operational coal, iron ore and gold mining sectors. In contrast, recruitment activity within the construction sector was more restrained throughout most of Australia, excluding Western Australia, as a number of projects had not yet progressed through the study and design phase.