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NZ construction workers juggling multiple job offers

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Experienced construction candidates remain in such high demand that they often receive multiple job offers, says recruiting experts Hays in New Zealand.

Quantity Surveyors, Site Managers and good skilled trades and labour are among the skills in such short supply that employers will move quickly and offer career progression in order to secure their preferred candidate.

"Most regions in New Zealand are experiencing increased residential activity while the unprecedented investment in commercial construction and transport projects across Auckland is adding to the significant skill shortage," says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand.

"In Auckland, residential companies are busier than ever and are growing their teams. Some candidates are moving to the Bay Of Plenty due to the number of residential developments there as well as for a lifestyle change, which adds to the shortage of necessary construction skills. Commercial construction is also very active, with new names entering the market and stretching the workforce.

"The Wellington market is moving forward slowly with a number of large private and government commercial construction projects either underway or announced. Continued seismic strengthening work is adding to the skill shortage, as are the growing civil construction and residential markets.

"In Christchurch the number of commercial projects valued above $5 million is increasing. With larger high-profile projects underway, certain skills are in high demand," he said.

The Hays Quarterly Report for July to September 2016 names the following hotspots of construction hiring activity:

In Auckland Residential Quantity Surveyors with new build experience rather than earthquake recovery experience are in high demand. We’re also seeing a need for senior and professional candidates with strong experience due to the Auckland housing shortage. Areas like Pukekohe, Pokeno and Hobsonville are all being developed into new subdivisions and companies are moving into the Auckland market, which is adding to demand.

Commercial Quantity Surveyors with New Zealand experience are needed too. Major projects add to the already busy commercial sector and the demand for these candidates.

Senior Commercial Estimators are sought by companies moving into the Auckland market. Employers want candidates with New Zealand experience. Turnover is adding to demand.

Carpenters and experienced and/or qualified Builders are in high demand for residential work. Many of the new subdivisions are on the outskirts of Auckland and not easily accessible via public transport, which can limit candidate supply.

Plumbers (commercial and maintenance) are also needed due to the high levels of new builds and refurbishments. Companies are competing with each other to hold onto staff.

Machine Operators (digger/roller/grader) are needed for new subdivision projects. Major upgrades on the motorways and roads are adding to demand. Every operator needs to be ticketed, however the cost of attaining tickets is high and often people cannot afford them.

Wellington needs mid to senior level Project Managers, particularly in interiors and commercial fit-out. Qualified intermediate to senior Quantity Surveyors with commercial construction experience are sought too, as are Site Managers with large-scale commercial construction experience gained in New Zealand, Australia or the UK. Candidates must be well presented with good communication skills for client facing roles.

In Christchurch Forepersons with the ability to manage a site while also working on the tools are in demand as the commercial sector ramps up.

Site Managers are needed in the commercial sector to manage programs, sub contractors and the day-to-day running of the site. Health and safety changes have also seen a large portion of health and safety responsibility fall to the Site Manager, which further adds to demand.

Project Directors are sought too as larger, more high profile projects commence in Christchurch. These are usually rare opportunities but overseas consultancies as well as local tier 1 contractors are currently interested in local candidates.

Fit-out and commercial Carpenters with experience in alloy partitions, steel stud and ceiling fixing are in demand as the commercial build continues and a lot of the current local workforce looks to roles in Auckland.

In Queenstown commercial and residential Carpenters are in high demand. With major development starting in Wanaka the demand across Otago will grow.

Commercial Plumbers and Electricians are also sought. Most jobs are at fit-out stage and NZ qualified candidates are in high demand.

Plant and Machine Operators are also sought in the civil market with a class 2 licence or above.

Certified and CCC approved Drain Layers and Senior Concrete Cutters are needed too. The demand is now rising due to repair work within the SCIRT program.

The UFB rollout has increased demand for Senior Cable Joiners.

To see the full list of skills in demand and trends for your industry, please visit

Hays is the most followed recruitment agency on LinkedIn in the world. Join Hays’ growing network by following Hays Worldwide. You can also get expert advice, insights and the latest recruitment news by following Hays on Twitter @HaysNewZealand.

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