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Builders take on apprentices

More than half of Australia’s home builders plan to hire more apprentices in 2024 despite the slowdown in home building, new research shows.

The HIA Trades Report released this week shows that a survey of home builders undertaken in January shows that 51% of them aim to increase the number of apprentices they employ in 2024.

Just 7% expect to reduce their apprentice numbers.

HIA Senior Economist Tom Devitt said that although the volume of homes under construction continues to shrink, strong demand for skilled tradespeople in other sectors has ensured that building trades remain in high demand.

“Competing demands from other sectors for skilled trades such as carpenters, electricians and plumbers, are compounding the shortage of tradespeople in residential building”, Devitt said.

The HIA Trades Availability Index, which measures the industry’s perception of the availability of each skilled trade, sat at -.64 in the final quarter of 2023, virtually unchanged for much of the past 12 months.

“The return of overseas workers made a marked difference in addressing what were the most acute shortages of skilled tradespeople since 2003”, Devitt observed.

“The lack of improvement for much of 2023, however, shows the industry is still struggling to find the skilled tradespeople it needs.

“Competition for skilled tradespeople from other sectors – including public infrastructure and other non-residential projects – is intense. All sectors are now employing significantly more construction workers than just a decade ago.

“This has made it harder for Australia’s home builders to complete the significant pipeline of work taken on during the pandemic. It has also pushed up the price of skilled trades, which increased by 5.0% in 2023.

“There needs to be a conscious effort to promote careers in the industry, more support for the apprenticeships and businesses that help train and upskill our existing and future workforce”, Devitt concluded.

By trade, the most acute shortages existed in ceramic tiling (-1.04) and bricklaying (-1.03), followed by carpentry (-0.84), roofing (-0.81) and plastering (-0.79). Shortages are more modest in electrical (-0.21), plumbing (-0.33) and site preparation (-0.36) trades.

By region, the most acute shortages of skilled tradespeople at the end of 2023 were in Perth (-0.89) and Adelaide (-0.84), followed by regional South Australia (-0.76), Brisbane (-0.72), Melbourne (-0.70), Sydney (-0.58), and most regional areas.

*The HIA Trades Report released today provides a quarterly review of the availability of skilled trades and any demand pressures on trades operating in the residential building industry.

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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