Welcome to the November issue of the newsletter! In this issue you will hear from Carmel Jones giving her expert opinion on the state of the building industry and with Christmas approaching Martin Smallshaw will be giving an insight into the Social events here at CGC.

CGC would like to welcome Jessica Newton, our new Finance Officer. Gratitude goes to Jaymie Barry for finding Jess. Very well co-ordinated indeed!

Industry Briefing, Carmel Jones
Last week CGC were proud to be part of the Woman in Design and Construction Sydney (WIDAC) networking night. Myself and Christina Ryan presented some insights on how we can bridge the gap in a skills short market. Below are some key points that were discussed that evening.

NSW has been the busiest it’s been since before the downturn and with projects such as Parramatta Square, the various rail works going on around the state and the redevelopment of Circular Quay, things are only going to get busier.

Even though it’s hard to find staff locally there are things that we can do…

TSS Visa (Temporary Skilled Shortage)
As many are aware, the subclass 4 year 457 was abolished earlier this year and replaced with the 2 and 4 year Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) Visa.
There have been a lot of changes introduced with this visa, however, the good news for Construction, Design & Engineering is that most of the professions we recruit in are listed on the 4 year visa scheme. Which stills makes this method of recruitment attractive for the employment of staff.

Whilst this avenue of recruitment might not be suited to every organisation some key points to consider are:
• Engineers, Project Managers and Architects are all still listed on the medium to long term shortage list and eligible to apply for the 4 year visa
• Professions on the 4 year visa are all eligible to apply for a permanent residency visa after a period of time with one employer, which in my experience is what most candidates plan to do if relocating
• And whilst the department of immigration has cut a lot of professions relevant to the built environment they have made a commitment to review these professions based on Australia’s skills shortage every 6 months. This means even if a profession isn’t on the list now, it could be in the future.

Interstate Recruitment
Something else that is overlooked is interstate recruitment. Unemployment in NSW is at 4.4% whilst in QLD it’s 5.9%, in WA 5.7% and VIC 6% is vastly higher. Recently we have seen an influx of enquiries from highly skilled professionals in Construction looking to relocate permanently from these states. Whilst I know local knowledge and experience is preferred we can’t overlook skilled labour from other states.

Training / Upskilling
Another avenue we need to look at if we can’t find our 10/10 employee is hiring someone a little less qualified and upskilling /training them.
Training doesn’t need to be costly or time consuming, there are many effective ways to train staff:
• Mentoring and shadowing
• Provide materials for learning – books, guides etc
• Exposure to the industry – networking events and live talks
• Providing information, local regulations and exposure to projects
• Online courses

And lastly if we can’t find a permanent member of staff we need to look at some form of temporary engagement to help complete the works.
Now I know what many hiring managers might be saying… If I am spending time and money on recruitment I would prefer a permanent member of staff. Whilst I will agree that to grow your business you need to employ full time staff, I truly believe that temporary recruitment in a skills short market is fundamental to the success of every business / project.

I ran a temp desk for 7 years. In this time I realised there were a lot of misconceptions about using temporary staff which include: They are only contractors because they cannot get a permanent job or They do not care about the outcome of the project and are only looking for a pay cheque.

These misconceptions are often untrue, the majority of contractors I worked with were professional contractors and had operated that way for many years.

The situations that temporary workers are useful include:
• To bridge the gap on a project whilst your permanent member of staff finishes or starts their last project
• If you physically cannot find someone to fill the position, a temp can come on for the fixed term of the project
• To cover someone that is on maternity leave / or help someone that is returning from maternity leave
• For a special project that is outside of your normal line of business
So although we are all definitely facing challenges finding staff there are things we can do to bridge the gap.

CGC Social

It’s all things social here at CGC as the summer season is only a matter of weeks away! The mornings are warming up as are CGC’s new starters, all settling in very well and making their marks in the industry, not to mention each already helping multiple people find their next dream job! Well done guys!

So to kick things off with a bang, everyone at CGC would like to extend a warm welcome to Jessica Newton, who has enlisted into the CGC ranks as our very own Finance Officer, looking after credit control and all aspects of CGC’s finances.

The next topic of conversation is the celebration of Tom Fisher’s birthday, CGC’s newest consultant who’s heading up our Civil & Construction Trades contract desk. Happy birthday Tom, hope you enjoyed Taronga Zoo with Mrs Fisher!

Our next social subject is of course Melbourne Cup, and what a day that was! The CGC team were out in full force and enjoyed an action-packed day at Randwick Racecourse, with our resident Michelin Chef Stewart Armstrong taking home a juicy win. Meanwhile a select few of us (no names) wallowed in self-pity.

While on the topic of Melbourne, our Building Services Design team took a long awaited trip to the ‘Europe of Australia’ to visit some of CGC’s key clients and candidates, bringing home an array of amazing jobs for some very lucky Melburnians! It was time well spent and a very beneficial trip for all involved, client and consultants alike! Our consultants met some great teams across our Building Services clients and are even better equipped than before to fully service the needs of clients and be able to provide cultural insight into the offices and teams down south.

And last, but certainly not least, CGC had the honour of sponsoring November’s WIDAC (Women in Design and Construction) networking event which saw 10 of the CGC team attend, with our own Christina Ryan and Carmel Jones guest speaking at the event, offering some great insight into the current job market and some brilliant tips for businesses struggling to find the talent they need.

Thanks again to CGC’s directors, James Grantham and Nick Curtis for a great day at the races to celebrate Melbourne Cup and of course more recently for sponsoring and supporting such an amazing, inspiring and forward thinking group of people that make up, WIDAC! We’re all looking forward to getting involved when the next event comes to Sydney.