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

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Around Australia, concern is growing about a long-term shortage of skilled construction tradespeople amid fears not enough apprentices are being trained to replace retiring workers and meet 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 per cent of all current tradespeople are aged 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.

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’s 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. With the Department saying 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 because here at Perfect Hire we are constantly recruiting and training our team members, so you have plenty of skilled and experienced TradesmenLabourers and Operators to get your job done!