Building Trades: Hot in 2015

As the Australian economy grows in 2015, demand will follow for workers in building trades.

After the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, the construction sector faltered causing an exodus of workers. As Australia’s economy recovers, construction work that was previously dormant is kicking back into gear, but many experienced builders and tradespeople are no longer available.

“In 2015, low interest rates and continuing strong immigration flow will be boosting residential and commercial construction, as well as the demand for building trades jobs,” says Ivan Colhoun, NAB’s chief markets economist.

“The growth in the construction of houses and infrastructure is already having a positive effect on the recruitment market for building trades. The New South Wales housing and infrastructure market is leading the way,” he adds.

And the building industry body agrees. Master Builders Australia says it can see light at the end of a very long tunnel, predicting a return to positive conditions for commercial building in 2015-16 after an unusually long period of weakness. This is backed by Department of Employment figures showing projected growth of 4.4 per cent, or 11,000 more jobs in 2015 nationally.

Reasons for the growth in building trades

The weaker Australian dollar, positive turnaround in housing finance and approvals, and government incentives to ‘buy new’ are creating a booming industry for housing and commercial building.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) estimates there will be 183,000 new dwellings in 2015.

Other factors driving growth:

  • Employers are keen to employ licenced sub-contractors who have their own indemnity insurance, opening up opportunities for small business owners in the building and construction industry
  • The Productivity Commission is set to look at reducing the red tape for the construction industry, making it easier to get projects off the ground

Words from an expert

“The building industry is beginning a period of improved activity across some states – particularly in metropolitan areas.

As we emerge from the recession, reports like Future Forecasts: Construction and Property Services Skills 2016-26 are optimistic about increased activity in the industry. HIA Economics forecasts several years of increased performance above the 10-year average, with a significant year of construction in 2017.

We are seeing changes in housing design and construction, such as many more energy-efficient dwellings. Prefabricated housing is starting to become a reality in the main centres because it is quicker to erect a dwelling using this technology. Building tradespeople need new skill sets to work on both energy-efficient and prefabricated dwellings.”

- Grant Daly, Construction & Property Services Industry Skills Council

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