Key trades in short supply this year

Despite a downturn in local residential building, a set of construction tradies will be flush with work over the next three years, with a list of top trades identified by Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ).

While the overall industry develops a 23,000 surplus of construction workers, some trades will have more work than they can cope with.

For example, on average, an extra 3160 electricians, 960 plasterers and 840 tilers will be needed each year over the next three years to satisfy demands, according to CSQ.

CSQ CEO Brett Schimming said forecast building and construction activity allowed CSQ researchers to create a summary of the top trades – those that will be in highest demand over the 2020-2023 period.

“In some skill areas, upcoming demand is going to exceed available supply in the local workforce,” Schimming said.

“Across Queensland we are going to need a higher number of tilers, electricians and plasterers than are currently working in the state. “This could result in increased construction costs due to delays waiting for these top trades and increased charge rates for their services.”

Schimming said the current general downturn in building and construction would begin to correct itself in 2022.

“We expect subdued residential building activity to persist throughout 2020 and the Queensland industry as a whole will develop a surplus of 23,000 construction workers,” he said.

However, Schimming noted that labour balances will be felt differently in different parts of Queensland. Some places, such as Cairns, will be grappling with significant labour shortages, while other centres, such as Townsville, will carry a glut of construction workers into the 2020s.

“Fortunately, Queensland employers are continuing to take on apprentices at a healthy rate that is consistent with historical averages. Around 20,000 people are currently undertaking a construction-related apprenticeship or traineeship in Queensland, which will ensure a sustainable pipeline of tradespeople for when growth returns to the market, which is expected around 2022,” he said.

Schimming added that smart locals could seize the opportunity to upskill and take advantage of the increased demand in identified trades.

“It would be savvy for local workers and employers to investigate training in these high-demand roles, to bridge the skills gaps,” he said.

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