The current wave of infrastructure development in Australia is likely to be a once-in-a-generation cycle. Major projects, mainly focused in NSW and Victoria, are preparing cities and regional centres for the expected population growth by providing improved social infrastructure and transport options. For anyone associated with these sectors, it is an exciting time.
While this amount of activity is keeping the industry busy, workforce planning is once again front of mind following the resource industry boom of a few years ago. Add to this, the recent changes to the 457 visa program which is deterring skilled migrants from moving to Australia, meaning resourcing for projects is a concern for many businesses.
WHO IS SPENDING BIG?
There are a huge number of road, rail, transport and social infrastructure projects nationally and the most high profile include: Pacific Highway Upgrade ($4bn), Sydney Metro ($8.3bn), Melbourne Metro Tunnel ($11bn), High Capacity Melbourne Trains ($2.2bn), West Gate Tunnel ($5.5bn), Sydney Harbour Tunnel Crossing ($2.8bn), continuation of WestConnex ($16bn) and the 50 Level Crossing Removal projects in Melbourne ($5bn).
Although the States have huge infrastructure budgets, the Commonwealth has now announced funding for the eagerly awaited second airport for Sydney (circa $5bn) and the Inland Rail Project (circa $8.4bn).
Source: Infrastructure Partnerships Australia website, 16 June 2017
The question is how can we ensure that we have the right people to help deliver the projects? Companies that are proactive around workforce planning, talent management and succession planning may just have the answer.
Here are 10 things you can do to get ahead of the game when it comes to attracting and retaining key talent.
ATTRACTING & RETAINING KEY TALENT
1. Workforce planning – you need the bench strength for critical roles and get them involved at the bid stage so once a project is awarded, you can mobilise quickly and get set up for success.
2. Strategic recruitment – Once you have identified the gaps, partner with experienced industry search professionals who you trust to represent your brand and know the market
3. Employee Value Proposition (EVP) – why would a candidate work for you over a competitor and are you clear about what makes you different?
4. Be honest about what your recruiters are telling candidates about the companies – they will quickly become disengaged if they come on board and it is not all as promised
5. Embrace diversity – be open minded when you are reviewing candidates – could different experience or background be an advantage for the team?
Retain and Engage
6. Make sure you are competitive when it comes to salary and benefits – the markets in NSW and VIC particularly are moving quickly for certain roles
7. Make it personal for your people – flexibility, individual recognition and reward strategies (think outside the square)
8. Transparent salary banding, talent and succession plans – let your people know where they are in the big picture
9. Support them with coaching and mentoring and clear career pathways so they know where they are going after the project finishes. Keep in mind professional development activities whilst on the job – people will be attracted to relevant learning and solid career opportunities.
10. Leadership – if your leaders are not exhibiting the right behaviours, you will start to lose people so act on it early and make them accountable.
General Manager, Southern Region
Nick is an experienced people & recruitment professional beginning his career in 1997 with an international search and advisory firm providing recruitment, HR Consulting and Executive Search services to the construction, infrastructure and mining industries. From 2007, he was employed in the engineering and construction contracting industries in senior HR and resourcing management positions, providing strategic and operational delivery initiatives to increase and improve important human services for the business.
Outside of working internally for leading international main contractors and engineering consultancies, Nick has successfully delivered numerous senior technical and professional search assignments across a variety of organisations including government agencies within the engineering and infrastructure space.