10 minutes With Suzanne Roberts: Trends in Employment Demand for Client Side Project Managers

10 minutes With Suzanne Roberts: Trends in Employment Demand for Client Side Project Managers
October 9, 2018 Todd Richardson

Our Senior Consultant for the Property Development and Consultancy sectors, Suzanne Roberts, discusses the trends she’s seeing in the demand for client side Project Managers in Brisbane and her advice for a successful job search.

Which sectors in Brisbane are currently driving the demand for client side Project Managers?

SR: Demand for client side Project Managers in Brisbane has increased in recent months, with opportunities across all work sectors. However, I’m seeing particularly high demand across health, commercial and education projects. 


Are you seeing any trends in this employment demand?

SR: Secondment has been a big one. Rather than hire Project Managers on a full-time basis, Consultancies have been in favour of seconding Project Managers with specialist experience into their client’s organisations to help them meet project demands for X amount of time.

It’s been an effective way for them to alleviate the uncertainty they experience in forecasting workload demand they will have for the Project Manager once the project at hand is complete.

For the Project Manager themselves, there is much benefit to be gained from a secondment opportunity.

For one, employers tend to value maturity and extensive experience when hiring for these positions, since they want to bring on board someone who can jump right in and do the job with a minimum of fuss or extra training. So hurdles you may have experienced when applying for full-time positions, such as focused experience or being over-qualified for the job, may actually work in your favour in this arrangement.

You’re also provided the opportunity to sample a number of employers and work on a variety of projects when being seconded – a great way to add to your project experience!  If you impress the employer enough it can even lead to an offer of full-time employment being brought to the table.

On top of that, being paid as a “contractor” instead of as a regular staffer means you might be eligible to deduct a portion of your work-related expenses that you wouldn’t usually qualify for.


What skills and traits are your clients looking for in the Project Managers they’re hiring?

SR: Good tenure on a CV, exposure to multiple projects, some clients, particularly those with a broad scope, are looking for variety someone who can come to them with a mixed skill set.

On the flip side, in health and defence projects, specialist industry experience is being sought after – this is also where we are seeing a lot of secondment opportunities arise.

Local experience is also something they’re looking for. I speak to a lot of experienced and well-skilled Projects Managers, who have been overseas for quite some time, that find breaking back into the Australian market really challenging. This is where I would advise taking on a secondment or contract opportunity to help get your foot back in the door.


What tips and advice can you give for a successful job hunt?

SR: If you’re going to work with a consultant to help secure your next opportunity make sure you do your research and keep your search focused to one or two industry recruiters who have the connections and respect to help with that process successfully.

I see time and time again, candidates that come to me to help them gain their next opportunity, and unfortunately they have met with an inexperienced/unfocused recruiter that has saturated the market with their profile without their prior knowledge or approval. This is not how respectful and experienced recruiters work – we take your next career move and reputation seriously and essentially want to build a long-term relationship with you.

Two-way communication is key when building a relationship with a recruiter. They need to sit with you and understand your background and expectations and then map out the market with you. They need to inform you with prior agreement when and who your profile is being marketed out too and keep you in the loop every step of the way.

As to what you should be doing to promote yourself, always put a full project list on your CV so we can see what you have been exposed too on past projects and make sure your LinkedIn presence is professional and up to date! LinkedIn is one of the first places we go to learn more information about you, so make sure it’s polished and has lots of relevant information about past employment and your skills and experience.

If you can get recommendations on LinkedIn – get them – go to the person’s page you want the referral from and request it– there is no harm in asking!

Looking to make your next move in the client side world?

You can contact Suzanne on suzanne@constructionpeople.com.au or 0410 014 069 to discuss her current opportunities in the Brisbane market.


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