Melbourne Client Market Update – Spring 2015

10th November 2015 / Market Updates

With Melbourne Cup fresh in our minds, we start the other great race – to the end of the year!

Early trends from the first half of the year have firmed up to the point where recruitment is closely tracking the breadth of projects that are spreading across most sectors – the first time in several years where this has been the case.

All of our chats with clients at the moment have a consistent theme – “we are having a break and then straight back into things in the New Year”. Great news that so many firms are confident of their workload heading into January, rather than as it has been in the past few years – waiting to see what February brings.

Activity in Architecture has seen demand from the multi residential and apartment sectors remain strong, however other areas across aged care, sports and education, mixed use, retail and hospitality are all coming together to drive recruitment very strongly. Added to this an increase in larger one off type projects that are mixed use of a commercial scale will hold demand for quality personnel at high levels into 2016. Biggest request for the year? Equal first for Architects and Technicians + Revit + apartment experience – not too many surprises in that one!

Activity in Interiors has also increased across the board this year. We are really excited to be sourcing key staff for some amazing boutique hospitality and retail projects, along with some very high end aged care, all mixed in with some smaller commercial workplace projects. Demand remains high for those with apartment exposure and we expect next years’ biggest trend will be for Interior Designers with hotel, apartment, bar and restaurant experience – oh and Revit please!

Whilst demand has been very high for Revit experience all year, we have had some really good success with studios who have been less focused on the specific CAD software background who can drill down primarily on the skills needed. Of course we understand that this flexible approach can’t always work, but we are seeing some groups reaping the rewards of not letting the software need dictate the overall outcome!

Rates and Salaries moved forward during the middle section of the year and again we are seeing pressure in some areas on rates and salaries based on specific skills and experience, and as a result of the increasing demand are seeing potential candidates with large salary expectations driving their move.

We would also like to thank all of those clients who contributed to our recent Senior Level Salary Survey, which has become the hottest document in our office over the past few weeks. This information is now available and you want to see it, please let us know via email.

In addition to remuneration levels contained in the survey, we also heard some great comments that give an excellent insight into what clients think when they are recruiting. If we remove the word Revit from that list (that was at the top), then we see words such as “People Skills”, “Good Attitude”, “Efficiency” and “Relevant experience”, which underlines how important communication and a positive approach are when firms are recruiting.

In terms of the roles we are seeing come in, there has been a broad range, however we can’t emphasise enough how important BIM skills have become, either Revit or ArchiCAD, and whilst AutoCAD roles still come through, the trend is still heavily towards BIM based software.

Are your contracts up to scratch? With the market in it’s current busy state, we are seeing a good mix of permanent salaried roles along with some really exciting contract opportunities becoming available, with many of those contracts ongoing and long term in nature. With the market maintaining strong activity levels, it is a timely reminder to ensure that your actual method of engaging contractors directly is clearly defined and adheres to ATO compliance requirements. Most importantly having the right confirmation letter and specific contract being in place, and also ensuring that contract renewals are correctly handled, (which can slip the mind when the next project starts).

Further, we are aware of several instances recently where firms with directly engaged contractors had issues relating to where responsibility lay for payment of Superannuation contributions. In all of these cases the client companies were adversely affected as there was no written contract in place. For clients who are not confident that their contracts would stand up to ATO tests such as the Results Test or other rigorous criteria, or don’t have written contracts in place, please contact Bruce Whetters regarding our Payroll and Administration Service that relates to Referred Contractors.

So as we race toward the end of 2015, all hands are on deck and we look forward to a positive start for 2016.

Bruce Whetters

Group Director – BT&P Melbourne









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