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Construction Project Managers Australia: They need Qualifications and Experience

As the Australian construction industry continues to show year on year growth the need to staff new and existing projects with suitable candidates also grows.  Being unable to find enough qualifying applicants locally Australian construction giants are turning their attention beyond Australia’s borders to finding the talent they need. 

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With Construction Project Managers being in short supply and in high demand, especially in areas like New South Wales (NSW), Queensland and Victoria, Australia has listed the profession as a scarce skill that needs to be supplemented by qualifying migrants.

The construction industry is the third largest employing industry in Australia at around 9% of the country’s workforce. The start of 2017 sees almost 10,000 Project Management jobs and over 9,000 Construction Management jobs available Australia wide on Seek.  Site managers, civil construction managers and project managers are also in high demand.

Construction Project Managers with a relevant qualification and at least 5 years’ experience are likely to attract a lot of positive attention from Australian employers.  Australian employers documented that only about half of the applications received for a vacancy were likely to have a relevant qualification and applicable experience.

A recent study by the Australia Department of Employment, Survey of Employers who have Recently Advertised (SERA), revealed the facts about the needs of the Australian construction industry.  Its main findings were that the Australian labour force does not offer enough Construction Project Managers to meet the countries growing needs.  Typically only about half of applicants for advertised vacancies held a relevant qualification while almost 30 per cent were considered unsuitable for the job due to a lack of experience.

Construction Project Managers is listed on Australia’s Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) meaning that would-be visa applicants, who meet all the other immigration criteria, may be able to obtain an Australian work visa.


The report showed that:

  • demand for this occupation has benefited from strong building activity in recent years, particularly in the eastern states of Australia stated the report adding that the value of work being done also grew by 9.1 per cent over the three- year period surveyed for the report
  • growth for the period 2016-17 was strongest in New South Wales (22.8 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (16.8 per cent), Queensland (14.3 per cent) and Victoria (12.3 per cent)
  • a number of surveyed employers pointed to recent strong demand for construction project managers in some sectors.  The Internet Vacancy Index shows that vacancies for construction managers rose steadily over the three years to February 2017
  • vacancies for Construction Project Managers were distributed across a variety of residential, non-residential and engineering project types, industries, project size and level of seniority.  Employers with unfilled vacancies attracted an average of around six qualified applicants for each of their vacancies. The main reason vacancies were unfilled was that the qualified applicants did not have sufficient construction management experience.
  • Employers in Western Australia filled 92 per cent of their vacancies, compared with 50 per cent in Victoria, 64 per cent in Queensland and 65 per cent in New South Wales.  The shortage of Construction Project Managers in NSW, Queensland and Victoria is even more glaring when one considers that Western Australian employers attracted an average of 61.2 applicants per vacancy.  This is substantially higher than in NSW were only 9.9 applications per vacancies was received.  Of the 9.9 applicants less than half was found to be at all suitable for the position.
  • More than 85 per cent of surveyed vacancies were in metropolitan areas, mainly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with no notable difference in the survey results for metropolitan and regional areas.

Source: Australia Department of Employment, Survey of Employers who have Recently Advertised (SERA)

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