Is Australia heading towards a trade shortage in the construction industry?

  • magda
Attributes of tradesperson

Around Australia, the concern is growing about a long-term shortage of skilled tradespeople in the construction industry. This is amid fears, not enough apprentices are being trained to replace retiring workers and meet the growth in demand for new labour.

A quick look at the data seems to bear these fears out. Over the five years from December 2014 to November 2019, the Department of Employment expects the nation to need an extra 47,800 building tradespeople to take overall numbers from 365,900 to 413,600.

Reliable data on the age profile of the sector’s workforce is difficult to come by. But ABS figures from 2010 indicated that roughly 14 percent of all current tradespeople in the construction industry are 55 or over. Which would indicate that roughly 51,000 of the 365,900 currently employed in construction trades would be aged over 55. Assuming between one-third and half of these retire over the next five years, the nation will need an extra 17,000.

New Trainees in construction industry

This means in order to meet projected new demand and replace those who retire, Australia would need some 67,000 to 76,000 new trainees completing their apprenticeship, or 13,000 to 15,000 per year. That is just to meet new demand and replace retiring workers. It does not take into account the need to replace those who move into management roles. Or otherwise leave the building trades to pursue alternative options. Given that over the last five years, only 61,600 (or an average of 12,325 per year) completed their apprenticeships. There does appear to be a shortfall. The Department says a number of construction trades are already in shortage. Such as bricklaying, stonemasonry, roof tiling, wall, and floor tiling, plumbing, and cabinet making. These numbers are concerning

Not to worry though. Here at Perfect Hire we are constantly recruiting and training our team members for our construction industry. So you have plenty of skilled and experienced TradesmenLabourers, and Operators to do your job!