As one Australia’s largest employment sectors after health and social services and retail sector, the construction industry is an important barometer for the health of Australia’s jobs market.
July's Australian Jobless Rate jumped back to 6.3 per cent despite strong new job growth in both full time and part time work. This was largely on the back of a marked increase in the official participation rate (the number of available job seekers actively looking for work). And depending on your outlook in life this can mean either that the jobs market is still weak or greater levels of job seeker confidence. Randstad Research is not conclusive either, suggesting the answer to this question depends on which state you are living in.
So exactly where are the jobs in construction? The chart below shows the percentage of construction jobs advertised on the internet by state between April 1 and July 31, 2015.
Each state tells us a different story with NSW the clear winner, not only benefiting from it strong housing market but also its long tail of civil and infrastructure projects. The big surprise is Victoria; despite having the second best state unemployment rate performance trend in the country (excluding ACT and NT) the state lags a considerable way behind Queensland and Western Australia when it comes to new jobs advertised in construction. We also see that Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman has a lot of work to do if he wants to make Tasmania the construction jobs state of Australia.
When it comes to the jobs that are most in demand. The chart below shows the top five roles in demand in construction by employers based on jobs advertised on the internet over the last four months. As you can see, demand for qualified electricians and carpenters is more than twice that of the next most popular role, plumbers.
This demand is consistent throughout most of the country, with but a few exceptions. In Victoria, carpenter and plumber roles are the most in-demand, and more than twice as popular as electricians in third spot. In Queensland, industry sales roles are featured in the top five most popular roles jobs advertised in construction and in Tasmania, bricklaying roles feature in the top three.
And if there is any misunderstanding of how important Australia’s residential housing market is right now to jobs in construction, over 63 per cent of all jobs advertised between April and July were in the residential sector.