Where to construct your efforts in 2015: Employment outlook for the Building and Construction industry

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“You cannot build a dream on a foundation of sand.”

― T.F. Hodge

The future of Australia’s construction industry may seem doom and gloom amid mining fall-backs, declining investment levels, and rising pressures on resource-related project activity, however calamity is not upon us. Knowing where to invest your employment efforts, and in which sector more precisely, is key to maintaining and increasing your job prospects within the building and construction industry in 2015.


The value of residential building work is set to rise from $46.2 billion in 2012/13 to 60.9 billion in 2015/16. Of the 183,000 projects expected during this period, the apartment building sector is likely to witness the highest level of growth, with a 6.3% increase in projects.


Rising at a rate of 3.2%, sustained growth is anticipated within the commercial construction industry. Majority of this growth is expected to occur through private building efforts, including offices, retail premises, and recreational buildings.


Despite experiencing declining activity in electricity, sewerage, drainage, water supply, and pipelines, the future for infrastructure construction looks favourable, with an expected growth rate of 5%. Following an increase in investment, primarily from the NBN network, the telecommunications sector seems most hopeful (8.2%), while the Federal and State infrastructure plans for road and rail are expected to witness a revenue lift by 6%. This is followed closely behind by civil projects (5.2%), including port expansion.


If you’re a job seeker looking to invest your efforts in solid soil, then knowing where all the activity is happening proves crucial. Fortunately for New South Wales natives, their resident state will be home to a large portion of building and construction activity. This is followed moderately by South East Queensland, and Victoria, and understandably so. States not as exposed to declining mining-related construction, such as NSW and VIC, have greater opportunities.


As one of the 16 industries expected to experience increased job offerings between 2015 and 2018, employment within the construction industry is set to grow by 137,900 jobs (13%). While outlooks for heavy and civil engineering construction are projected to suffer marginally, small home builders and occupations with greater exposure to the detached housing and apartment buildings sector, such as bricklaying, plastering, tiling, residential landscaping, and site management, appear to have the most to gain. Of these sectors, the greatest opportunities exist for off-site and sub-contract work.


1. Invest in the booming sectors

There’s no logic behind placing structures in sinking soil. Instead, you should focus your labour on burgeoning sectors. These include residential (apartment buildings), commercial (offices, retail, recreational buildings), and infrastructure construction (telecommunications, road and rail, and civil) industries.

2. Consider off-site and subcontract work

With demand for off-site and subcontract tradesmen eclipsing that of on-site work, it seems more beneficial to take on jobs under these arrangements. While such agreements may not work for you, they might be worth looking into.

3. Up your qualifications and get your trades license

It’s a tough and competitive world out there, and to secure a lot for future employment, you need a solid foundation on which to build. Having all the required qualifications and trades licenses to meet industry requirements and one-up your competition, can increase your chances of getting a job substantially, especially if you’ve got a superior line of skills locked in your tool-kit.
If you can’t afford to take any time off work, then you’ll be happy to know that you no longer have to. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) has made it easier than ever to turn your existing skills, knowledge and experience into Nationally Recognised Qualifications which may then be used to acquire your trades license. For more information about licensing requirements, click here.

If you’ve already got a qualification, it might be useful to consider merging into a more burgeoning sector of your industry by obtaining a qualification within that area too, especially if you’ve already got all the skills required to prove your competence. The following qualifications might help you increase your chances of landing a job in 2015.

Diploma Of Building And Construction (Building)
Certificate IV In Building And Construction (Site Management)
Certificate IV In Building And Construction (Building)
Certificate III in Bricklaying
Certificate III in Solid Plastering
Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling

Australian Industry Group, 2014, Construction Outlook

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