Australia News

Published on February 6th, 2013 | by john.weir

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130,000 new construction jobs for Australia

Australia will create 131,200 jobs across residential, commercial and civil construction over the next five years as the nation’s construction industry workforce expands by 12.6 per cent to reach almost 1.2 million people, a new report says.

Despite an anticipated end to the resource construction boom, demand for mining workers is also expected to grow by more than 10 per cent, as is that for ‘green’ workers, including those involved with clean energy sources and architects and engineers designing sustainable buildings.

In its latest edition of Aussie Jobs Looking Back Looking Forward, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations says that over the five year period spanning November 2007 to November 2012, the overall number of people employed throughout the country increased by 837,800 to reach a record high of 11,534,500. Key growth areas included healthcare and social assistance; mining; professional, scientific and technical services and education and training.

In terms of building and construction, the report says hiring levels remained fairly flat as the workforce expanded by just 31,500, or 3.3 per cent, to grow from 963,800 to 995,300 during that period.

Going forward, however, it expects overall industry headcount to reach 1,176,700 by November 2017, recording more respectable growth of 131,200 – or 12.6 per cent – between now and then.

It says a particularly strong area revolves around ‘green’ jobs as planners, architects and engineers are needed to respond to demand for sustainable design and environmentally friendly building materials – an area which also impacts occupations in manufacturing and clean energy.

Furthermore, despite the drop in new mining projects, the resource sector head count is still expected to grow by 103,700 or 43.4 per cent over the next five years. The professional, scientific and technical workforce, which includes architects and engineers as well as scientists, technicians, lawyers and accountants, is expected to grow by 108,200 or 12.5 per cent.

 While welcome from the viewpoint of the sector’s workforce, the latest predictions reinforce industry fears about a looming skills shortage.

In its most recent long-range industry outlook last October, for instance, the Australian Construction Industry Forum warned of a shortage of skilled labour by the middle of the decade as housing construction activity picks up. The forum said saying a focus on regional engineering in terms of work available over the last few years had led to a limited number of apprentices coming through in trades such as carpentry and other areas needed in a building recovery.

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