November 2019 Talent & Industry Insights

The construction, civil and rail industries continue to drive the Victorian and New South Wales economies with record investment/projects however their is a multi-layered micro-economy under the surface with some companies performing very well with others struggling. The only tangible differentiator is people. With margin pressure constant in this market, never has there been a more critical time to have the right people in the right roles.

To talk in basketball terms, teams (businesses) need to have a strong front court, strong back court and also bench depth. Once you have the correct team assembled, inspired coaching/leadership come to the forefront to ensure that the assembled roster perform to the desired standards. Scouting of future opponents (projects) and analysis of past performance’s then lay the foundations for continuous improvement.

There are many distractions in the marketplace and many people (or recruiters) sell themselves/people as the best option, but make sure you do your homework and you are working with true business partners who are looking to develop/maintain strong mutually beneficial relationships as opposed to getting their next commission cheque.

There is some excellent talent appearing in the marketplace, so now is the time to ensure you have the right mix of mature, developing and raw talent in your team’s.


March 2017 – Infrastructure Update

The Civil Construction industry in Victoria continues to go from strength with most areas of the marketplace being extremely busy and also talent poor. Areas of the market that we are seeing the most demand for high quality candidates is across rail, roads, land development and commercial civil. The most in demand area’s for staff currently seem to be Site/Project Engineers and also Foreman/Supervisors.

In busy times, we encourage companies to stay vigilant in their background checking of prospective employees as we are seeing a lot of companies compromising on the level of talent they are employing to fill seats which in turn is hurting them with employee turnover and financial outcomes on projects. The industry is very busy but there are also quality people seeking new opportunities in the market.

In terms of major project activity across the country it is huge! Major works are due to begin on the $10.9bn Metro tunnel in April, the Turnbull government have announced a $2bn Upgrade of Snowy Hydro scheme, the $500 million 10-year Midland Highway Action Plan is now being fast-tracked in Tasmania, the $400 million Ipswich Motorway Upgrade from Rocklea to Darra Stage 1 has been shortlisted to two bidders, SA have announced have announced a $12.1 billion spend on infrastructure and the RFT for the $500m Ballarat Line upgrade has been announced. The $800m Northern Gas Pipeline in now back up for grabs, $400m has been approved for federal funding for the Mackay Ring Road, an EOI has hit the market for the next 7.9km section of M80 upgrade and the green light has been given for the $3bn Split Bridge tunnel in Sydney.

The 50 Most Common Interview Questions.

Interviews can be stressful; but just like any test or evaluation, you can prepare yourself for success or fly by the seat of your pants. The employment marketplace is very tight in Australia at the moment, so Talent Associates suggest that you make every effort to fully prepare for an interview by thoroughly researching the business, and interviewers and what questions they might ask you at an interview.

When it comes to the interview process, research and preparation for the interview determines your chances of making it to the next step. One of the best ways to get ready for a job interview is to practice your responses to potential interview questions so you can adequately plan your responses. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression!

Most Common Interview Questions

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What are your weaknesses?
  3. Why are you interested in working for us?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
  5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  6. Why was there a gap in your employment history?
  7. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
  8. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  9. Are you willing to relocate?
  10. Are you willing to travel?
  11. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. How did you hear about this position?
  15. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
  16. Discuss your resume.
  17. Discuss your educational background.
  18. Describe yourself.
  19. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  20. Why should we hire you?
  21. Why are you looking for a new job?
  22. Would you work holidays/weekends?
  23. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
  24. What are your salary requirements?
  25. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  26. Who are our competitors?
  27. What was your biggest failure?
  28. What motivates you?
  29. What’s your availability?
  30. Who’s your mentor?
  31. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  32. How do you handle pressure?
  33. What is the name of our CEO?
  34. What are your career goals?
  35. What gets you up in the morning?
  36. What would your direct reports say about you?
  37. What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
  38. If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
  39. Are you a leader or a follower?
  40. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
  41. What are your co-worker pet peeves?
  42. What are your hobbies?
  43. What is your favorite website?
  44. What makes you uncomfortable?
  45. What are some of your leadership experiences?
  46. How would you fire someone?
  47. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
  48. Would you work 40+ hours a week?
  49. What questions haven’t I asked you?
  50. What questions do you have for me?

In addition to questions commonly asked during a job interview, many unexpected and downright bizarre questions may also be asked, so best be prepared.

February 2015 – Infrastructure Update

Activity in Australia’s Civil Construction continues to strengthen across markets, but is being impacted heavily by change of governments in Vic/Qld and the upcoming NSW state Election (28 March 2015). The industry is seeing a strong pipeline of future projects but continues to cry out for consistency/commitment to projects as evidenced by the continual discussions around the East West Link in Melbourne.

Talent Associates are seeing continual increases for demand for Project Managers, Project Engineers and Foreman, with NSW becoming a hot spot and Victoria’s 2nd to 4th tier contractors beginning to get a lot busier. We haven’t seen too much salary pressure as yet but expect this to occur in the second half of 2015 as demand rises across states to secure talented individuals. We are also having a lot of companies engaging us to undertake search assignments for difficult to fill roles, succession planning activities and strategic hires.

Please find below a summary of some news that you may find interesting and some contracts that have been awarded in February.

If you are interested in any of the profiles attached or have any requirements you would like to discuss with us further, please don’t hesitate to give Talent Associates a call.

* 6 Feb – (Vic) Stockland to commence construction on $4.6bn development (
* 7 Feb – (Qld) Government approves $3.8bn Brisbane Airport plan (
* 9 Feb – (NSW) Sydney’s South West Rail Link Opened (
* 16 Feb – (Vic) Melbourne Metro Rail Authority established (
* 17 Feb – (Vic) $30m committed to Stage 1 of Murray Basin Rail Project (
* 18 Feb – (Vic) $100m announcement for Flinders Street Station (
* 20 Feb – (Vic) $24m Rural Roads Funding announcement (
* 25 Feb – (Vic) EOI’s closed for West Gate Distributor Northern Section (

* 2 Feb – (NSW) $2.6bn, Lend Lease, NorthConnex – nine kilometre twin tunnel link, M1 to M2
* 2 Feb – (Vic) $1m, SMB Civil, Road Safety Barrier Installation Works Morwell
* 5 Feb – (Vic) $1.73m, Services South East, Road Safety Improvement Works Murray Valley Highway
* 6 Feb – (Vic) $1.3m, Bitu-Mill (civil), Pavement rehabilitation/stabilisation McIvor Highway
* 11 Feb – (Vic) $1.67m, Enoch Civil, Traffic Signal Installation Princes Highway Dennington
* 11 Feb – (Vic) $3.88m, Services South East, Pavement rehabilitation on South Gippsland Highway
* 12 Feb – (NSW) $100m, BMD, Stage 1, Bringelly Road upgrade project
* 16 Feb – (QLD) $110m, Seymour Whyte, 5.7km duplication of Warrego Highway near Toowoomba 17 Feb – (Vic) $6.3m, Negri Contractors, Transport Network Improvements East Werribee
* 18 Feb – (Vic) $1.89m, ReCivil, Pavement Rehabilitation Calder Highway and Heathcote-Rochester Rd
* 18 Feb – (Vic) $1.5m, Newnham Earthmoving, Pavement rehabilitation/stabilisation, Nth Region
* 26 Feb – (Vic) $1.9m, Downer Edi Works, Pavement Rehabilitation Henty Highway

Talent Associates Launch Executive & Technical Resume Service.

With today’s competitive job marketplace, your resume is now a sales document which can make or break your success of gaining a new position as soon as a recipient opens the document. Things such as wording, layout, size, colour and length are all key impact factors.

With in excess of 15 years working with organisations of all size/shape within both the private and public sector in Australia, Talent Associates are uniquely positioned to assist you in refining, developing or enhancing your resume.

We have developed a three tier system to cater for most professional jobseekers.

  •  Resume Check (Basic) – A review of your current resume, suggesting areas for improvement and providing an evaluation checklist of your resume. Cost $150 including GST
  • Resume Refine (Intermediate) – After conducting a thorough evaluation of your resume, Talent Associates will refine and improve your resume in full consultation with you. Cost $300 including GST
  • Resume Rebuild (Advanced) – A complete rebuild from the ground-up of your resume. Particularly targeted at those individuals who have had little need for putting together a resume in the past or who are really struggling gaining interviews. Cost $500 including GST.

If any of these services are of interest to you, please contact us directly and Talent Associates can help enhance your employment prospects.

Phone: 1300 363 445                                                Email:

September Infrastructure Update

September was a huge month for infrastructure!

In Victoria, we had a $5.5bn contract for the East-West Link signed and NSW has seen the release of RMS’s forward work plan for 2014 – 2019, with the program including $2.8 billion for 2014 – 2015 but this is also supported by NSW Government’s record $7.8 billion infrastructure investment. In SA, the Southern Expressway is now fully operational (in both directions) and the $400m+ Torrens Road to River Torrens is currently out to tender.

In addition to this major investment into roads, we are saw huge investment into rail in both NSW and Victoria. Major projects are online in both states and others are very close to award, including; road/rail grade separations, light rail, rail tunnels and track infrastructure services.

We are expecting to see the climate really heat up in regards to demand for Engineers, Supervisors and Project Managers in particular over the next couple of months as projects start to ramp up. This is great news for all candidates seeking new opportunities in the infrastructure industry and also for employers who over the past 2 years have experienced some very challenging industry conditions.

June Civil Construction News

June has been a relatively slow month for project announcements and awards; with most of the focus still being on bidding for upcoming projects. In fact Vic Roads have not awarded 1 construction project to any contractor officially in the month of June!…. But the good news is that July is looking like a bumper month as they look to defer the award of projects to the new financial year. 

In terms of major projects, we see construction activity continuing to increase at the Port of Melbourne with BMD and McConnell Dowell in particular having a large presence and plenty of work now pushing ahead at the airport with Downer, Fulton Hogan, Leighton’s, Civilex and Fortunato among those civil contractors represented. East-West link has been cut to two bidders with John Holland/Leighton’s out the running and project Zebra (Tulla expansion) well into its bidding period. 

From a recruitment perspective, experienced Project Managers remain the focus of many contractors particularly in specialist areas and contracts administrators remain highly sought after. Will the projected upswing in construction activity (2014/2015) fast approaching companies are also looking to put in place strategies to retain key staff as demand increases and this no doubt will also put inflationary pressure on salaries 

Recent News  

  • 24 June – Australia’s Top 100 Engineers announced –  
  • 23 June – Two Bidders shortlisted for East-West –
  • 20 June – Drug & Alcohol testing to be enforced on sites –  
  • 19 June – Investigation into adding another lane to Monash –  
  • 18 June – Balfour Beatty announce plans to staff to pull-out of Australia 
  • 16 June – $25m, Demonstration Plant, Latrobe Valley, Shanghai Electric Australia Power & Energy 


April Civil Construction News

With Easter out of the way, we now have a clear run to Christmas for the industry. With a  number of new project announcements and the award of further contracts at the Port of Melbourne & Melbourne Airport, we are continuing to see a pick-up in the level of activity in the industry. Additionally, water/wastewater project opportunities are presenting more regularly and the residential construction sector continues to rebound.

Companies are now starting to get more active in the pursuit of strategic business growth objectives and also hiring intentions are improving across the industry.

Recent Project News

 Some Recent Contracts Awards

  • 15 April – $6.6m, Stage 1A of Ballarat Western Link Road – Hazel Bros
  • 8 April – $3.5m, Road Works Diggers Rest Coimadai Road Toolern Vale – Pattern Pavement Services
  • 8 April – $95.9m, Western Highway Duplication Beaufort to Buangor – Lend Lease Engineering
  • 7 April – {EmailBody}.9m, Road Works Winchelsea-Deans Marsh Road – Bitu-Mill (Civil)

Vic Civil Talent – March 2014

With the Victorian Infrastructure industry continuing to gather momentum, employers are gaining confidence in future workflow and beginning to invest in business infrastructure & staff. We are also beginning to see increasingly positive industry indicators on the commercial/residential construction sectors and with a focus by the state/federal governments on an infrastructure led economic recovery, we are optimistic on future levels of activity.

Some major projects that are currently in early construction or planning include;

The oversupply of foreman/supervisors in the marketplace seems to have eased with more projects coming out of the ground, but good project managers are in short supply. Salaries continue to remain pretty steady across the industry as market conditions slowly improve.

Attached is some information on a number of candidates currently seeking new employment opportunities and we would welcome further discussions with you on their backgrounds or to discuss any current/future staffing requirements.

March 2014 – Civil Talent