Australia’s construction industry workforce is expected to expand by 12.6 per cent and create 131,200 jobs across residential, commercial and civil construction during the next five years. This growth will result in about 1.2 million jobs in the industry by November 2017.
An area of particular interest relates to “green” jobs. A demand for sustainable design and environmentally friendly building materials requires planners, architects and engineers. Manufacturing and clean energy jobs may be impacted as well.
From November 2007 to November 2012, hiring levels in building and construction experienced little growth of 3.3 per cent, resulting in 31,500 new jobs. Of the 11,534,500 people employed– a record high in Australia– 995,300 were in the construction industry, according to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ latest edition of Aussie Jobs Looking Back Looking Forward.
Key growth areas during this five-year time period included healthcare and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services and education and training; and mining. The resource sector is also expected to grow during the next five years by 43.4 per cent, or 103,700 jobs, despite decreases in new mining projects.
With this welcomed growth lingers the undeniable truth of predictions about a skills shortage. By the middle of the decade, a shortage of skilled labour will be present as housing construction work increases, according to the Australian Construction Industry Forum in its long-range industry outlook from October.
A Certificate III or higher is required in 83.4 per cent of work, which is predicted to increase to 92.8 per cent in five years. This will result in an unbalanced share of new work created with skilled work in spite of an oversupply in tradespeople at the end November 2012.