JOBS CHATTER: There’s a job going for an engineering consultant in a major global consulting outfit right now. It’s got a salary range of $120,000 – $199,999.

Recruiter Nick Koop of Vivid Recruitment reckons it has to be a wide and potentially quite attractive range to lure the right person. And the right person is increasingly harder to find. Often he is forced to go out headhunting. In fact, most times.

According to Koop the job market is hopping, for staff with the right skills.

And it’s the young ones just two or three years out of university that are the most aggressive in salary expectations. If the bosses want them… well there’s not a lot of choice but to meet demands.

Koops says the slimmest pickings are in sustainability and you can thank the widespread negative politicking under the Abbott years and beyond for that (our take, not Koop’s).

The consequences are a dearth of sustainability leaders exactly when you need them – during this massive uplift in demand from much of the known world, Australia included.

(Check out the five weeks the Green Building Council of Australia is offering below.)

Koop specialises in sustainability and the professional services around buildings. His business partner specialises in architecture and demand here too is intense.

The official word from Koop, as far as he understands it, is “crazy”.

In engineering though demand is “ridiculous”. There’s massive workloads stemming from the government generated work in schools and hospitals in particular, and that’s in addition to the infrastructure work underway.

Driving the architecture jobs market is the Covid induced drought in overseas migration; in normal times young graduate architects would be sourced from the UK for instance to fill the gaps (and keep wages low, you’d be forgiven for rationalising.)

Within engineering there are specialist skill sets that are traditionally “not overflowing with candidates at the best of times”, Koop says. This includes sustainability, fire engineering and hydraulics.

The “mech/lec” people, not so much; these mechanical and electrical specialities are generally more easy to source.

According to Koop, those whose skills are in short supply certainly know it and feel they’ve got a lot more leverage and say in their salaries. Either their current bosses are happy to pay them more to keep them sticky or they will ask for strong pay rates.

Conversations with a range of HR managers indicate that young engineers, for instance, are asking $90,000 to $95,000 whereas not so long ago they might have been happy with $70,000.

At the senior level a $20,000 uptick in asking salary of $180,000 to $200,000 is not such a big deal but then again it comes with expectations to bring in work commensurate with that.

Zoe Baker is moving on

Zoe Baker has left her job at CitySwitch Sydney program manager and is joining the NABERS team in NSW DPIE as a sector lead. In an upbeat farewell email, Baker cited significant sustainability achievements rolled out by office tenants in the program that extends nationally.

“Working on CitySwitch since 2013 has been a true privilege, seeing what this sector achieves each year is beyond impressive, seeing how quickly renewables and carbon neutral and positive have grown, seeing waste engagement take off and businesses tackle more wicked problems, seeing the shift to climate risk and responsibility, those things make me sure that we’re up to the challenge,” Baker said.

“People power will be the make or break of climate action, and I’ve seen what you can do…See our latest program achievements and award results if you need a reminder.”

Meanwhile the search for Baker’s replacement is on.

Our pick of the jobs

Lendlease is looking for a manager, sustainability valuation to help monitor and translate the financial impact of social, climate change and environmental performance initiatives.

With the opportunity to make a genuine impact on the industry, the role involves creating sustainability related financial disclosures for Lendlease’s annual report, half year results and investor/indices responses.

You will need a firm background in finance as well as a passion for sustainability, and solid knowledge of both fields.

The Green Building Council Australia is offering “five weeks annual leave!” for its two new sustainability engagement leads.

When not on leave, the job says, you will be working to drive uptake of Green Star and strengthen relationships with Green Star users, members and key stakeholders.

All you need is a tertiary degree in sustainability, marketing, business or similar and you could be a part of the national authority on sustainable buildings.

For those with a more “radical voice”, Greens NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi is looking for a communications and campaigns adviser to join her team.

Must have a passion for politics and pushing boundaries in the fight for social and environmental justice, the ad says.

You will be responsible for creating and executing public campaigns covering anti-racism, education, animal welfare, housing, international aid and more.

With Duncan Murray