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How will you support your construction project in a skill short market?

Posted on 21st August 2019 by Jo Lothian

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Have you ever gone to hire someone for your construction project, only to find there’s a shortage of what you need? Statistically, you’re not alone. According to some reports, only 36% of construction jobs are filled in the State of Victoria. In some areas, there are only 0.6 workers applying to each position.  ​ 

You don’t need great math skills to see that there just aren’t enough workers to satisfy the construction industry’s needs. Until more people start taking up Class 482 visas, the problem will continue. If you work in the construction industry, it’s useful to understand why this downturn is happening and what lies ahead. At MAYDAY, we’re here to shed some light on the matter and we’ll tell you why using a recruitment agency could help.

How bad is the construction worker shortage in Australia?

In Australia, construction workers account for 9.5% of all jobs. They contributed around 8% to the country’s economy, which demonstrates how their presence is a necessity for the country as a whole. By 2022, the number of construction workers needs to increase by a further 100,000. Those are just the jobs that the government knows will happen, so the figure could easily be larger.

The shortage is a problem that has been brewing since 2002. This was the year when shortages across the residential construction industry were seen as problematic. From 2007 onwards, the issue began spreading to the commercial construction industry. Despite the global economic downturn of 2008, construction remained as a sector where jobs were waiting to be filled. Today, the problem continues. As plans for new housing developments, large motorway projects, and other infrastructure projects are made, the problem could worsen.

Why is the shortage happening?

A lot of worker shortages in construction and infrastructure are due to large-scale commercial projects. For example, the Barangaroo redevelopment will require around 23,000 workers. The ambitious $8.3 billion Sydney North-West Metro project is likely to command thousands of workers too. Adding to this, many major news outlets are reporting that the residential sector will see 150,000 workers short of work. This means that many are now trying to transfer their skills to commercial settings, where work remains strong. As a result, although there may be workers in your area that could fill your jobs, they might crave the stability that comes with the commercial construction sector.

Construction and infrastructure also have an ageing workforce. Twenty years ago, the number of workers over the age of 55 was 8%. Today, that figure is 14.2%. As many people look to retire after the age of 55, or at least slowdown, the ageing workforce means that more people could be leaving their jobs than there are people filling those positions. Although numerous jobs from the construction and infrastructure sectors are eligible for skills shortage visas, those applying to work in Australia aren’t filling the gap.

Sydney's ongoing infrastructure projects

As a city that's anticipating a hot period of growth, Sydney is set to see a staggering period of growth. By 2036, the city needs to:

  • Support 113% more train trips.
  • Make room for 30% more car journeys.
  • Create space for 40% more households.

To achieve this, there are 10 major infrastructure projects underway that are set to complete between now and 2024. From the Pacific Highway Upgrade that's due next year to the creation of Sydney Metro City and South West lines in 2024, Sydney is about to place huge demands on the infrastructure labour-hire sector.

How does using a labour hire recruitment agency such as MAYDAY Blue help?

MAYDAY Blue is a part of the MAYDAY Recruitment group whose differentiator in a competitive market is our “care factor” approach, and award-winning client and candidate experience. We focus on helping companies hire skilled labour for the construction and infrastructure sectors safely, on time and to meet your project goals. In addition to providing you with permanent workers, we can help you find temporary workers at short notice. This can benefit you in several ways.

Your workforce becomes more consistent

Using a recruitment service such as MAYDAY Blue ensures your workforce becomes more consistent. We maintain a steady supply of skilled workers for the labour and construction industries. Those who find work through our agency know we’re reliable, and so they remain with us. This means you’re more likely to secure a worker at a speed that suits you than if you compete against others in your field via job advertising boards.

You can hire on a flexible basis to scale your business

One of the most challenging aspects of the labour shortage is that you can no longer attract contract workers without difficulty. If you can’t guarantee someone a permanent job because your current workload doesn’t require it, why would they choose you over an organisation that can offer something long-term?

The MAYDAY Blue team secures workers who are looking for flexible work. As a result, you can hire people on a per-project basis using our agency. This means you’re not short of workers for important jobs, so you don’t lose money by slowing them down. Additionally, it means you don’t risk hiring full-time staff and finding that you don’t have enough work to meet their needs.