Construction Employment Smashes Another Record High 1

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Monday, July 4th, 2016
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Levels of employment within the building and construction sector in Australia have smashed another record high as the unprecedented boom in new home and apartment building activity drives massive demand for building professionals and tradespeople.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the overall number of people employed throughout the construction sector rose by a whopping 13,100 over the three months to May to come in at 1.081 million – -48,200 above the same period last year and up by a whopping 101,600 compared to the previous corresponding period two years earlier.

Construction services (architecture, engineering, building surveying etc.) and building construction have been the big winners, with around 60,000 jobs having been added in the former category over the past two years and around 40,000 having been added in the latter.

Headcount numbers are easing back within the civil construction sector notwithstanding substantial levels of infrastructure investment taking place in eastern states.

In terms of states, meanwhile, almost all of the growth is coming out of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, which have put on more than 65,000 workers between them over the past twelve months.

The latest data comes as record levels of new housing and apartment building activity as well as strong levels of infrastructure investment drives demand for skilled workers and professionals throughout design and construction in east coast markets.

In terms of design, recruitment outfit Hays says demand is strong for CAD drafters, design managers, senior project architects, senior design architects, architecture graduates and interior design professionals as well as civil and structural engineers and Revit Modellers.

From a construction perspective, Hays says demand is red hot for project managers, site managers, site administrators and contract administrators at the professional level as well as for carpenters, electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and general labourers.

Notwithstanding all this, however, wage rises within the building sector remain modest – a phenomenon which is expected to lead to higher levels of staff turnover if employers are unwilling to adjust remunerations levels to match the current strength in market conditions.

Over the longer term, moreover, construction sector employment is expected to ease back over coming years as new home building activity drops back.

Welcome though the latest figures are, however, they show a sobering truth with regard to what is generally regarded as a considerable level of gender imbalance with regard to the sector’s workforce.

According to the latest statistics, men outnumber women in terms of workforce representation throughout the sector by a factor of 7.4 to one.

Many within the industry believe that encouraging more women into the sector will help to address the sector’s workforce requirements over the long term.

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  1. Mark Whitby

    Good news for the industry Andrew and should be the case with record immigration in recent time… so why are governments cutting back on helping TAFE, why did Victoria get rid of Technical schools, why are apprenticeships so low, and why isn't there enormous pressure on governments to reverse their narrow-sighted cut-backs?