Skills Shortages ‘Challenge of the Decade’ for Australia’s Construction Industry

Skills Shortages ‘Challenge of the Decade’ for Australia’s Construction Industry

Serious concerns are held that clients seeking remediation of combustible cladding or other non-compliant building components may face unacceptable delays and increased costs in securing resources to address these issues.

Global design, engineering, and consultancy Arcadis’ latest construction costs index report describes worsening skill shortages as “the challenge of the decade” for Australia’s under-pressure construction industry. Construction job vacancies have increased by a massive 80 per cent since late 2019. It is forecast that by 2023 there will be more than 100,000 unfilled roles in the sector.

The Arcadis report says: “This will be almost 50 per cent greater than the number of people who are expected to be qualified to fulfil them. As confidence returns to the construction sector, it urgently needs to focus on becoming a more resilient industry investing in digital, modern methods of construction and practical measures to improve sustainability.”

It also said while public investment works were not yet in full swing, and we're a work in progress, planned infrastructure investments were likely to put even more strain on resources translating to further inflationary pressure. Arcadis’ executive director of cost and commercial management Matthew Mackey said a severe shortage of construction workers will present a huge challenge to the industry in the future.

“Construction has largely recovered from the pandemic, but that recovery is coming with an inflationary cost,” he said. “Skills shortages will only get worse, and this will become the challenge of the decade.

The issues plaguing the construction industry will persist for some time. according to the report.
“Businesses that invest in the industry’s transformation will find themselves in a market-leading position in an industry that underpins the Australian economy.”

Arcadis’ 2022 International Construction Costs Index, ranking the relative cost of construction in 100 cities, showed that while Sydney remained the most expensive Australian city for construction in 2021 its global ranking of 40 was down 11 places on the previous year.

Melbourne came in at 49 (down from 41 in 2020), Brisbane at 50 (down from 42 last year), Adelaide at 60 (down from 55) and Perth at 61 (down from 45). 

Blog post submission: Lee Dunn

Source: The Urban Developer, Phil Bartsch 14 April 2022

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