Master Builders blueprint to secure workforce by 2026
Construction is the backbone of the Australian economy, employing approximately 1.3 million people. Image: Canva.
  • The building and construction industry is facing a shortage of nearly half a million workers
  • Master Builders Australia has a blueprint to secure the workforce's stability by 2026
  • This blueprint outlines suggesstions to improve recruitment and retention

Amidst a turbulent economic period of a 30 year high inflation rate, the building and construction industry is facing a critical shortage of almost half a million workers.

Construction is the backbone of the Australian economy, employing approximately 1.3 million people, providing infrastructure, commercial and community buildings, and homes for the growing population Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn says.

To address this concern of a worker shortage, Master Builders Australia has released a blueprint to shore up the industry’s future stability.

According to Wawn, the proposal lays out several policies that aim to recruit and retain workers that is commensurate with the nation’s rising population.

“With Australia’s population projected to grow by over 50 percent between 2022 and 2060, reaching nearly 40 million people, the industry will require a significant workforce to undertake the necessary building and construction work,” Wawn said.

Master Builders estimates that 486,000 workers need to join the building and construction industry by the end of 2026. Almost half of these workers (229,000) will be in technician and trade roles, many of whom will enter through a trade apprenticeship.

Wawn added that rapid changes are bound to further alter the shape of the industry.

“The nature of work in the industry is evolving due to increasing business specialisation, more offsite building, frequent job changes, technology integration and complex regulatory requirements,” she said

“Understanding the emerging and future workforce skills needs is critical for ensuring flexible pathways in the industry that meet the changing and diverse needs of workers, businesses and employers.”

The proposed blueprint aims to incentivise more students toward Vocational Education and Training (VET).

“Critically, this includes improving the quality of careers education in secondary and senior secondary schools,” she said.

In order to better retain workers who have completed their VET course, the blueprint emphasises a culture that values life-long learning and sharpening business acuity.

According to Wawn, the industry needs to look at maximising the appeal of the building and construction industry to women workers, which is also a key part of the blueprint.

“The construction industry attracts more male than female workers,” she said.

“Improving the attractiveness of the industry to women presents a massive opportunity to increase the pool of potential workers.”

“Governments are urged to tackle these issues as a key aspect of the inflationary challenge facing our industry,” Wawn said.

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