Calibre Group offers shares and cash in talent quest for growth

Diversified engineering, technology and sustainability partner Calibre Group is offering shares and cash incentives as the company ramps up its recruitment effort to capitalise on a $2.5 billion pipeline of project opportunities.

Rather than simply relying on recruitment agencies and advertising to drive the search, Calibre Group is also incentivising its entire workforce to be on the hunt for new talent by offering staff attractive cash incentives of up to $10,000 for successfully influencing suitable candidates to join the group.

Managing Director Peter Massey said the group, which currently employs about 1,600 people around Australia and in New Zealand, was aiming to expand the total workforce by about 15-20 per cent to almost 2,000 before the end of the year.

“We have identified a pipeline of project opportunities worth about $2.5 billion, but ultimately we need skilled people in place to win and resource that work, so we’re prepared to do everything we possibly can to ensure we get the right people we need on board now,” he said.

While Calibre Group had sufficient people in place to manage and resource projects already on its order books, Mr Massey said more than 200 additional people were being sought over the next few months to facilitate growth.

The vacancies include almost every type of engineering field including civil, structural, communications, mechanical, electrical and more. In addition to engineering roles, the business is also looking for designers and drafters, project and site engineers, project managers and an array of project support and corporate roles.

Pandemic-driven global and state border closures and extended regional and metropolitan lockdowns around Australia and New Zealand have created a perfect storm for Human Resources teams focused on matching demand with supply from a greatly diminished talent pool.

The pandemic has accordingly prompted business to change approach, accelerating workforce diversity in the process. While representing 22 per cent of Calibre Group’s employees, women now account for 40 per cent of the executive team and 33 per cent of the leadership team.

Mr Massey stressed that Calibre Group’s growth posture was being driven by a combination of the pipeline of opportunities and track record of success since delisting as a publicly-traded and partly foreign-owned company at the end of 2015.

“We’ve recently joined the Australian Constructors Association, with the goal to work with them, their members and Federal and State governments to emphasise the value of a robust and sustainable construction industry,” said Mr Massey.

Although salaries have been rising in tandem with the price of raw materials, Mr Massey hoped Calibre Group’s point of difference as a private company owned by its employees would have special appeal within a market dominated by global conglomerates.

“We have the luxury of being an employee-owned business with some 90 shareholders and each and every one of those shareholders has a voice to impact the long-term strategy, direction and decisions which influence every aspect of how we go forward as a company. I look forward to the day where the majority of our staff are shareholders,” Mr Massey said.

“This is in stark contrast to the majority of our competitors which are owned by international conglomerates where you might be one of some 20-to-40-to-80,000 global employees reporting to managers who sit in other parts of the world issuing directions and making strategic decisions without any explanation or local involvement.”

Calibre Group, he said, was driven by a core purpose to “enable communities to thrive”. Those communities included Calibre Group’s staff and clients; the communities within which clients operated; and the broader Australian and New Zealand communities from a sustainability perspective.

“We would much prefer to pay our own people, then pay external recruitment agencies, so if a staff member is responsible for bringing a suitably qualified person into the organisation they can earn up to $10,000,” Mr Massey said.

“We are also offering $10,000 worth of company shares to past employees who might want to re-join us so they can become an owner. We are putting our money where our mouth is in terms of being different and supportive of our employees.”

Calibre Group has three operational brands including Calibre, Diona and Sevengen. Share ownership is normally only available to permanent employees with a minimum qualifying period of six months continuous service but this is being waived until the end of November for former employees.

“Together we’re a diversified professional services and construction specialist,” said Mr Massey.

“We are really doing all we can at the moment to recruit people who we think would love to join a unique, growing, inspiring and exciting company where they can be involved in creating the organisation they want, rather than one they’re told they will get.”

Calibre Group provides a broad scope of engineering, consulting, construction, project delivery and management services and delivers a wide range of projects for national clients such as Rio Tinto, Stockland and ARTC - underpinned by a sharp focus on sustainability, renewables and technology.