Scramble for construction course graduates

Scramble for construction course graduates

Danny Chung


Scramble for construction course graduates

With university graduation looming, companies in the construction industry have been making sure of replenishing their staff with new blood, if they have not done so already.

Salaries have been rising steadily too as the buoyant construction industry means companies are willing to fork out more to make sure they can retain the interest of graduates in the industry.

Engineering consultant Atkins said it recruited about 30 Hong Kong graduates every year, representing about 17 percent of overall recruitment for the firm.

Graduates will be exposed to a wide range of different responsibilities such as infrastructure design and work in different teams under senior managers.

“Besides the learning from their day to day jobs, we also provide training for their specific disciplines and business, such as presentation skills, essay writing skills, etc, which helps them a lot to prepare [for] their chartership,” an Atkins spokeswoman said.

Atkins also hires about 15 vocational trainees a year to work over the summer and winter holidays in its office.

Those that perform well would get a leg up in their career.

“The good vocational trainees do have priority when they apply for a job with Atkins after graduation,” the spokeswoman said.

Leading cost consultant Rider Levett Bucknall said it has pretty much concluded its annual recruitment round after starting back in February this year.

Company managing director Stephen Lai Yuk-fai said RLB interviewed about 140 graduates and made offers for about 80.

So far it has about 60 confirmed trainees compared with about 50 last year as the company had more work to carry out.

The graduates begin work during the period from June to September at starting salaries of HK$15,000 compared with the HK$13,800 last year.

Lai said it had to increase salaries for inflation, to attract students and also because the consensus amongst his peers was that HK$15,000 sounded about right.

Contractors have also been hiring.

Australian company Leighton Asia, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, said it was looking to maintain last year’s recruiting numbers with 50 university graduates plus about 70 technical graduates from institutions such as the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education.

Most of them would be local graduates with about 10 percent from overseas.

The company declined to mention salary levels but said: “Our salaries are competitive in the local market. Graduates can expect some enhancement to the previous year’s salary levels,” a company spokeswoman said.

It agreed the good prospects in the construction industry has attracted more potential applicants in the civil and building disciplines as well as the QS discipline.

Depending on the discipline, trainees can expect to be involved in project coordination, design and engineering works plus site supervision.

The company is also looking to recruit about 60 interns to work over the summer holidays and those that perform well would be invited to join the company upon completion of their studies.

Leighton Asia is recruiting 50 university graduates plus another 70 technical institute graduates this year  (Danny Chung)

Leighton Asia is recruiting 50 university graduates plus another 70 technical institute graduates this year (Danny Chung)

One of the biggest providers of construction related learning, Hong Kong Polytechnic University will tentatively see 340 students on construction related degrees graduate in 2013, up 4.6 percent compared with 2012.

The courses with student numbers in parentheses are Building Engineering and Management (37), Surveying (81), Building Services Engineering (116) and Civil Engineering (106).

Asked how many students have already found jobs, the university said: “When only counting those who secured construction-related jobs, 88 percent of them (equivalent to 367 graduates) with help from PolyU.”

This figure though also includes students on related courses such as Geomantics, Environment & Sustainable Development, Electrical Engineering and Transport Systems Engineering.

The university’s statistics show that the average starting salary for construction related graduates were at least HK$15,000 per month in 2012.

Civil and structural engineers had a monthly salary of HK$17,223, building services engineer HK$16,038, quantity surveyor HK$16,180, and building or land surveyor HK$16,528.

The university has seen an increase in companies looking to hire graduates this year.

“The number of requests from related employers for posting their graduate positions on the PolyU job board increased by 49 percent compared with last year’s,” it said.

As of mid May, it has received 263 requests from employers and involving 1,044 vacancies in the 2012-13 academic year, compared with 177 requests for the previous year for 923 vacancies.

For summer internships, the number of requests from employers jumped 29 percent to 110 and involving 297 vacancies for the current academic year as of mid May, compared with 86 requests and involving 285 vacancies for the previous year.

The salary range for the internships for 2012-13 was HK$5,000 to 8,000 compared with HK$5,000 to 7,700 for the previous year.

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