Labour Trends and The Importance of Skilled Builders

It doesn't matter whether you live in Sydney or the Wollongong or Illawarra region, it can be hard to find tradespeople these days. But it's not just NSW or Australia where it's difficult to find builders and other construction professionals. A global shortage of skilled construction workers is hitting the industry hard.

However, some construction companies, such as A Class Building and Construction, are navigating the challenges with ease and continuing to create outstanding custom new builds and home renovations. This article talks about the problems facing the construction industry and how A Class Building and Construction is overcoming them.

Labour Shortage in Construction on a Global Scale

Although it is a complex issue with many causes, there is no doubt a labour shortage in the construction industry is being felt globally. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had several impacts on the construction industry in advanced countries, including Australia. Labour markets tightened as workers rejected strenuous working conditions with high physical demands and prioritised family time and a work-life balance. Supply chains were disrupted due to lockdowns and international conflicts, and there were significant shifts in demand for some products. 

However, there are more factors at play, one of which is a significant decline in young workers entering the workforce. Labour force growth has slowed as Baby Boomers retire. This has caused a significant skills gap.

Immigration policies, economic downturns and a lack of interest in the industry from younger generations have also played a role in the construction labour shortage. 

The Construction Skills Shortage in Australia

Some factors that are contributing to a labour shortage and putting pressure on the construction industry in Australia include:

  • Australian infrastructure boom: Some regional communities in Australia will see an annual increase of 75% in infrastructure investment. This means fewer workers are available for residential construction projects. 
  • Lack of gender diversity in building and construction: In Australia, only 2% of tradespeople are female, adding to employment pressures. 
  • An ageing workforce: As people with experience and qualifications retire from the construction industry, which is physically demanding, they are not being replaced quickly enough.
  • Lack of domestic supply: While immense global supply chain pressures experienced in recent years have now eased, Australia cannot supply many building materials domestically, therefore exposing projects to significant delays and budget overruns. Shortages of steel, cement and quarry supplies, in particular, are expected to threaten housing projects in the coming years. 
  • Failure to employ more skilled migrant workers: The nation’s peak building and construction industry association says there should be more "clear and simple pathways" because "Australia needs to ensure it remains competitive in the global market for young, skilled migrants".

Local Impact: Construction Labour Trends In Wollongong

These global and national trends have also affected the construction industry and the availability of trades at a local level. For example, in NSW as a whole, demand for tradespeople with carpentry, plumbing and electrical qualifications continues to grow rapidly, but not fast enough. It's estimated that in order to keep up with the need for housing, the state would need to build 75% more homes in the next five years. 

According to Infrastructure Australia, a shortage of labourers and skilled tradespeople is growing at the fastest rate ever seen. In order to meet the growing demand, the nation's infrastructure workforce would need to grow by 127%, or more than 130,000 workers, in the next year. It says the shortfalls are being felt particularly hard in the Illawarra/Wollongong region. 

Local news website Region Illawarra reports that Illawarra businesses, particularly those in the construction sector, are facing an 'extreme' shortage of skilled workers. It says research by Region Development Australia Illawarra indicates major projects worth $33 billion planned for the region in the coming decade and beyond will demand more than 4000 construction workers at a time when labour is already in short supply. 

Steps to address the shortfall are being taken at a local level, including a trade skills program for Illawarra school leavers. However, the impact of programs such as these isn't expected to be seen for several years. 

How A Class Building and Construction is Addressing the Challenge

A Class Building and Construction has implemented a range of strategies to combat the labour shortage in the Wollongong and Illawarra regions. These include training initiatives, recruitment strategies, and partnerships with local educational institutions.

  1. We're investing in our team because we know this is an investment in our success. For example, improving safety standards helps us reduce workplace injuries and leads to quicker completion of your renovation project or new build. 
  2. We're fostering growth in our workforce. Helping our staff better their skills boosts performance and productivity. This means our employee satisfaction is higher, and we attract the best new recruits in the construction industry. 
  3. Being that we have many years of experience in home building in the Illawarra region, we also have established relationships with existing businesses, suppliers and trades, who are happy to collaborate with us for the best possible outcome for homeowners. 
  4. We're also embracing innovation and technology and leading the way with sustainability to maximise efficiency and cost-effectiveness on home renovations and new builds.
  5. We employ construction management techniques that keep your building project running smoothly, and we are always on the lookout for opportunities to continue improving our project management skills. 

Local, Qualified And Skilled: Find Out Why We're 'A Class'

The demand for a high-quality builder in the Illawarra and Wollongong area is at an all-time high. Here at A Class Building and Construction, we're committed to maintaining our high standards despite the challenges facing the construction industry as a whole. 

As home builders, we understand that homeowners value comfort and style. This is why communication and customer satisfaction are at the heart of our approach to custom new builds and home renovations. 

Our construction processes and many years of experience in the building industry ensure that A Class Building and Construction will deliver a dream home that exceeds your expectations. Call Scott on 0414 183 503 or Rob on 0414 931 145 for a free building consultation. 

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