Plasterers, bricklayers, floor finishers and sheet metal trades workers are among key building trades set to benefit from the housing construction boom in Brisbane and South East Queensland whilst earthmoving operators and construction managers will also be in hot demand, according to a new report outlining Queensland’s workforce needs over the next five years.

And demand for electricians is set to remain solid as work on the NBN ramps up notwithstanding the pull-back in resource developments.

Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics for the Ministerial Industry Commission (MIC), the Annual Skills Priority Report released on Monday predicts that the number of people employed throughout the building and construction and property services industries in Queensland will expand from 320,490 in 2013/14 to 357,420 in 2018-19 – a modest overall growth rate of around 1.8 percent per annum.

But the shift away from resource projects toward residential construction means demand patterns will vary according to specific occupations (see below), with residential building set to be the biggest generator of new jobs followed by property management and building services.

That same shift is also bringing opportunities back to the state’s south-east as work dries up in places such as Cairns, Townsville, Fitzroy and Mackay.

In the Greater Brisbane region alone, the report says almost 20,000 new construction workers will be needed over the next five years. An extra 3,175 will be needed on the Sunshine Coast, meanwhile, whilst almost 4,000 more will be needed on the Gold Coast.

Across specific occupations, between 2013/14 and 2017/18:

  • Whilst electricians will top the list of tradespeople required in overall number (in total around 3,300 more will be needed), the fastest rates of growth in percentage terms will be in plastering, bricklaying and stone masonry and floor finishing as well as sheet metal trades and telecommunications trades (see chart).
  • Earthmoving plant operators top the list of demand for operation of construction related machinery, with the number of workers in this area set to increase by almost 2,800 from 16,361 to 19,152.
  • Insulation and home improvement installation is set to be the biggest area of demand in terms of labourers. Numbers of required workers in this area are set to grow by 6.6 percent per annum from 3,153 to 4,341.
  • Construction managers will be in hot demand, with the number of workers set to expand from 19,020 to 22,260.
  • In property services, more than 5,000 new commercial cleaners will be needed, taking the total number employed throughout the state from 40,155 to 45,180.

 skills report

The first of its kind, the inaugural annual report was prepared following a review of Queensland’s vocational and education training (VET) sector, and will be used to inform government investment in VET qualifications for 2014/15.

Describing the report as a significant step in delivering on the government’s commitment to consultation with industry (the MIC is made up of government and industry representatives), Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek welcomed the release of the final draft.

“We’re not interested in whether or not people have certificates or diplomas if they don’t have jobs,” Langbroek said.

“That’s why we want to make sure training meets demands in the marketplace, in order to grow a four pillar economy and reduce the state’s unemployment.”

The report follows forecasts released last month by Housing Industry Association (HIA) in which the South Eastern Queensland region emerged as one of the key areas of emerging growth amid strong pent up demand following low levels of building activity in previous years.