Australia is planning a number of rail and infrastructure projects around the country. Once completed, they will make commuting much easier for passengers in Australia. However, the Building and Construction industry is struggling with a massive labour shortage. They are having a tough time filling in job vacancies to get these projects off the ground.
There is a major dearth of electricians and talented engineers in this industry. Building Contractors are finding it hard to find the right guys to connect the signalling systems to the new train lines.
As per the 2018 data from Seek, electricians were the most sought-after professionals in Australia in 2018. Electricians have the highest demand in the state of Victoria.
There are a number of current and projected infrastructure projects in the state of Victoria. This has significantly increased the demand for electricians in the state. With a large number of projects running, there is a huge demand for electricians with industrial and specialized experience.
Sebastian Fleury is the Regional Head of Rail Project Delivery of Aecom. Speaking to AFR, he said that that he could double his workforce provided he found enough skilled people to fill in the vacancies. He also said that Aecom currently has 40 to 50 open jobs. These are mostly civil, structure and geo-technical jobs.
With a large number of infrastructures projects, companies are competing with each other to attract and retain skilled workers. Companies often pay or steal workers from other contractors when they win two or three projects.
Joe Barr, CEO of John Holland, says that finding the right people especially in the engineering domain is a tough task. He said that his company focuses on developing and retaining the engineers that are currently working with them. His company gives them new opportunities and moves them into new projects when their old projects get over.
Pathways is an industry-first program in Melbourne. It helps skilled engineers from marginalized backgrounds get a foot in the door of the construction industry. These engineers are usually refugees or come from displaced industries.
It is not always possible to transfer skills from one industry to another. For example, domestic electricians are not qualified to work on railway tunnels. This is further forcing companies in Australia to look overseas for skilled workers.
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