Spotlight on Andrew Duncan, Principal Consultant at CSG Talent - Civil Engineering and Building Services

7 minutes min read

Having studied engineering at the University of Aberdeen and with years of experience operating within Engineering recruitment, Andrew is a well-rounded and highly knowledgeable expert within the industry.

Andrew has significant experience leading search assignments, both retained or contingency, for engineering consulting, project management, operational and leadership positions ranging from junior design engineer to executive level. Andrew has developed lasting, international partnerships with top companies and industry leaders alike.

Over the years, Andrew has led several searches focusing on securing highly capable diverse talent for leadership positions and has worked together with clients in an aid to address the gender imbalance across multiple heavy industries. He is passionate about complex engineering projects and supports businesses to develop these through the hire of exceptional talent.

In this article, Andrew shares insight into his role, what life is like for him at CSG Talent with a focus on the industry and roles Andrew operates within.

What attracted you to CSG Talent?

I initially heard about CSG Talent from a previous recruiter in the company. Our partners were childhood friends and when I was looking for something new, he spoke highly of CSG Talent. This then led to a conversation with Alex Wilkinson (Business Manager in Melbourne) who gave more insight into what the company was like and the opportunity that was available. Honestly, it was hard to turn down.

Though CSG’s UK team have a very successful team in Civil Engineering and Building Services there weren’t any consultants in that space in Australia. Being an optimist, I saw the opportunity to collaborate with an international team and increase presence in this area for the APAC region.

Hearing from Alex and the team gave me a clear impression of CSG Talent culture and the business, understanding how much care and consideration they give to employees and overall wellbeing really appealed to me.

What does an average day look like for you?

Every day is different, but relationship building is at the core of what I do. In my role it is important to establish new relationships with clients that CSG Talent haven’t worked with previously and grow a track record of success with those companies. I continually build relationships with senior level candidates to increase our talent pool at CSG Talent and enable success in the future. And in my experience, doing this with care and attention has led to very genuine and long-lasting friendships.

Trying to build consistency of placements is an on-going process that takes a lot of thought and planning put into specific processes. A lot of time is spent strategizing on how to fill positions and working through candidate projects, however, relationship building is (and will always be) the core of what we do and I challenge myself every day to be as effective as possible in this space.

What do you love most about your job?

Ultimately, for me its perceptions. When I initially started in recruitment 5 years ago, it was a big change. The most rewarding part of it was the feeling that I was going to work in a professional, white-collar environment – that feeling of turning up to an office every day and working with people who value the service is something I really love. Something as simple as wearing a suit and working in an office has always inspired confidence in me and has led to a very positive perception of myself. Reflecting on this, I believe that comes down to my up bringing, where I have been lucky to grow up with some fantastic role models and the feeling of emulating them is a happy one.

I also love being able to help shift perceptions. In America, for example, recruitment is highly regarded as a specialised service, but it is a bit different in Australia: there are many negative perceptions around recruitment and I feel quite passionate about shifting that to a more positive outlook on what we do.

Tell us a bit more about the types of roles CSG Talent recruit within Civil Engineering and Building Services

I focus on placements for professional services catered to civil engineering projects as well as building engineering projects. There is a lot of scope within that, ranging from the more technical jobs such as design engineers to commercial and legal experts to executive leadership. These roles are predominantly within professional services firms that cater towards the design of these projects. Additionally, we are also retained to partner with the project owners/developers, and the construction contractors as well. It’s a varied and wide-ranging remit, however, we have become specialists at developing and maintaining candidate networks that are very complimentary to the sectors we work in. 

What excites you most about the sector you operate within?

I’ve always had a passion for civil engineering, my father is a design engineer, and has led product design projects for decades – In particular, he was the lead engineer on a large project to update ATM banking machines globally. For at least two decades the designs he signed-off were used all over the world and, as a child, I felt such a sense of pride for his achievement. For engineers to be able to look at something and say they’ve designed that is amazing. For a lot of people in this sector, it’s about the legacy they leave behind, some of the projects worked on are amongst the largest in Australia and even the world. Australia is such a developing country when it comes to infrastructure and there is more and more demand, with huge projects in the pipeline.

The sense of contributing to something tangible is quite often the foremost reason that many engineers in my sector do what they do: To feel that you've contributed to progressing the societies and communities around you is a wonderful thing, and very worthy of celebration.

How much opportunity is there in the Civil Engineering and Building services sector?

There is limitless opportunity! There is such a demand for skilled people and businesses, and a shortage of those skills. So, the opportunity for individuals is considerable.

There are legitimate prospects of growth and success stories of companies who have achieved this. There are large Tier 1, global organisations that are currently very attracted to the Australian market. In the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of reputable international companies buying up Australian businesses and offering more global opportunities for the employees. In doing this they offer the weight of a credible global brand to local partners, and excellent opportunities for young professionals in particular.

We are also seeing a recent increase in Australian owned SMEs, who are becoming more and more competitive as they gain experience as businesses. This all adds to healthy competition and creates a very credible growth sector. 

What do you see for the future of your sector?

Growth! Both in the short and long term with infrastructure in particular. The projects that are in demand at the moment are long term commitments, there are large water infrastructure projects which offer 10+ years of work, mega rail projects, and underground infrastructure that will be years in the making. And investment isn’t limited to metro areas either, with lots of significant regional projects underway, too! I would say there is typically less demand for new inner-city buildings in Australia, however, there is still huge demand in the residential sector, for housing. 

Consultants in CSG Talent pride themselves on being true specialists in their particular industry sector. Why do you think it’s important to work in a vertical market?

I’ve specialised within this particular vertical for 5 years; within that time, I’ve built up a network of trusted connections that I can rely upon. I have become intertwined with the people in this market and these relationships are invaluable to achieving results for my clients and candidates.

How would you describe the culture at CSG Talent?

Fantastic! It’s a healthy, open, and warm environment. We have a group of people who care about what they do, and they care about each other while they’re doing it. We are all so different in our opinions about life and how we operate but it provides such a good mix of diversity which leads to interesting and positive experiences.

CSG Talent also offers behavioural profiles for their employees to better understand yourself and how you can better understand your team. This helps increase understanding and ease in which we can work with different people.

What skills are most crucial to succeed at CSG? What type of person do you need to be?

Dedication, commitment, hard work and drive – and being yourself.

What would you say to someone who was considering a role as an Executive Recruiter at CSG Talent?

CSG Talent is probably the best employer you’ll come across. I don’t think there is anyone who can provide the same employee care and benefits. The care and attention to the staff are second to none.

Andrew specialises in tailored executive search solutions and contingency selection for small to large businesses operating internationally within the civil engineering and building services sector.

To find out more about Andrew’s service or his market please feel free to contact him directly.


Tel: +61 (0)429 545 331

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