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Susty candidates get picky and AECOM set up for Parramatta growth

MARKET PULSE: The sustainability jobs market is robust as the end of the year approaches and companies move to finish off projects, according to Aspect Personnel consultant Carmina Navalta.

Ms Navalta has six sustainability jobs on the books in Melbourne alone, as well as lead roles in Sydney and Brisbane.

She said the roles ranged from small boutique practices to global multi-disciplinary companies and include both junior and senior roles. Most positions are sustainability consultants or ESD roles.

“It’s definitely strong; there’s no signs of slowing down,” she said. “In fact, it’s ramping up before the end of the year with a lot of projects due to finish in December. There’s a lot of movement within the industry.”

Ms Navalta said, with the market so busy, it was a struggle to find candidates wanting to move.

“Especially in last few weeks – those looking for an opportunity to move this year,” she said. “There’s a lot ready to move next year.”

According to Ms Navalta, candidates are now much more specific than they were in the past.

Carmina Navalta headshot

Aspect Personnel consultant, Carmina Navalta.

“It might be they only want to go to a firm that has exposure to facades, or it needs to be global, or one that will give them a pathway to leadership,” she said. “What I have found is that they are getting a bit more specific and strategic, and really doing their research on which company they want to work for and why.”

On the flipside, the majority of applicants don’t thoroughly read the job requirements.

“Eighty to 90 per cent of applicants don’t read the job advertisement,” she said. “We have tradies applying for susty roles, overseas applicants with no local experience. It’s very hard for a recruitment agency to get them into a firm. Local experience is a top requirement for most.”

Other applicants have not worked in the industry, they’re not Green Star accredited, or they’ve never touched the software. The field of mechanical engineering is so broad, applicants from automotive or manufacturing backgrounds often apply for jobs requiring building services experience.

“One job ad, you’d be lucky to get one [suitable] candidate,” Ms Navalta said.

With the market a bit tougher, companies have become more competitive. However, Ms Navalta noted that companies were cautious of offering higher salaries just to get a potential candidate over the line.

Go west and be closer to your clients

AECOM has opened an office at Parramatta, west of Sydney as the area gets set for major growth.

With no new office spaces completed in the Sydney CBD at this stage, but a swathe of projects underway at Parramatta Square by companies such as Walker Corporation, the global consultancy has staked a commitment to the west with a three-year lease on an existing building.

Justine Kinch, western Sydney director, design + planning for the company said the new office at 126 Church Street has room for 50 permanent staff plus 20 agile workspaces.

“We’re currently using the office to service existing clients such as Sydney Water and RMS [Roads and Maritime Services],” she said.

“It’s half utilised at the moment and that gives us the opportunity to advertise, recruit and employ – hopefully – locally.”

Ms Kinch said with a lot of infrastructure projects on at the moment in the area, teams could be located together for six months to a year.

“The space expands and contracts – there’s quite a bit of flexibility.”

As AECOM works with several government departments based in Parramatta, Ms Kinch said staff were able to pop back to the office between meetings to work, rather than lose most of the day in travel.

“We’re excited to be here,” she said. “It puts us closer to our clients in western Sydney.”

The firm is advertising internally and externally and, with 100,000 employees globally, many jobs will be filled internally.

Talent acquisition team leader Alina Dorca said there were 40 to 60 Sydney-based jobs on offer at the moment.

“There’s flexibility – depending on the individual – to give people from western suburbs the flexibility to be based there if they wish or some days per week if that is their preference,” she said.

Jobs on offer include civil, rail and electrical engineers; environmental scientists; community engagement specialists; project managers; and project engineers.

Send notes for job appointments or articles on the jobs and business markets to editorial@thefifthestate.com.au

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