If you’re looking for a builder to construct your dream home you’ll have to get in line. Thanks to the national skills shortage, builders are few and far between.
And it’s not just builders that are in short supply – we’re also lacking in engineers and a range of other tradespeople.
“The problem for Australian renovators is the shortage of skilled labour, particularly in high-demand trades that require apprenticeships and licences to operate,” says Alex May, founder of Renovationplanning.com.au
This labour shortage is directly related to the lack of training available. Over the last few years (and particularly when the GFC hit) many large companies and government agencies dumped their apprenticeship programs as a cost cutting measure.
With wages, insurance bills and top fees it’s almost impossible for small businesses to pick up this slack.
Just a year ago, when the country was in the grips of the global financial crisis (GFC), this was a completely different story. Due to the decreased amount of work available, especially in the construction arena, there was actually a surplus of skilled workers.
This number has since receded at an alarming rate. The Housing Industry Association (HIA) confirmed these grim statistics, with its research team estimated the shortfall of skilled workers in residential construction was currently just under 60,000 and would blow out to almost 65,000 nationally by 2012.
“The residential construction industry is almost certainly going to face a skills crunch,” says HIA’s chief Shane Goodwin.
While the Federal Government launched the Workforce Innovation Program (previously the National Skills Shortage Strategy) to address workforce needs, given the current skills – and housing – shortage, it’s evident that even more has to be done.