construction worker

The Australian Construction Industry In Numbers

Statistics of the Australian Construction Industry

The Australian construction industry has a promising future, but also major challenges. So, here is a fresh insight into statistics of this industry and how to be competitive.

A promising future

Currently, construction is the 3rd largest industry (after healthcare and retail) in Australia for the number of people it employs and its share in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product, 9%) of the country.

In fact, in 2019, there were over 1,15 million people working in the construction industry (it’s 9.0% of all jobs in Australia). And, by May 2023 there should be further 118,800 jobs added. So, this is a 10% rise in employment in construction. In addition, spending on infrastructure projects will double by 2023 to $52 billion.

Also, the construction average salary in Australia in 2021 is close to 97K a year. For instance, the annual income can reach $100,000 – $280,000 a year for Construction Managers, Estimating Managers, Site managers, Strategic Sourcing Managers, or General Managers.

And, if you’re interested in a career in the construction industry, the skills you want to work on are language, literacy and numeracy skills, learning agility and self management, thinking critically, solving problems, communication, and technology.

Last but not least, we see more women on the worksites and taking on leadership duties. Currently, only 12.1% of the construction workforce is female. However, the numbers slowly increase thanks to new measures and policies.


The major challenges in the Australian construction industry

The Australian construction industry lags behind in adopting innovations

First, the construction industry is slow to embrace digital technologies and innovations. And, these figures of the business use of digital technology demonstrate it.

In fact, less than 40% of Australian construction businesses have a web presence. And, only 3% have a digital business strategy.

Currently, only 39.50% of the construction firms have a web presence, 23.20% have social media presence, and 36.2% receive orders via internet.

And, regarding future adoption, 3.3% introduced or changed a digital business strategy, 5.1% approved investment in new digital tech / infrastructure, and 4.7% introduced new training programs. Also, 7.9% indicated data analytics is important, 9.1% indicated AI is important, for 12.3% IoT is important, and 20.2% said cyber security is important.

Delays and overspend of projects are the norm in the construction sector

In addition, it is common for projects in the construction industry to have delays beyond the original schedule. Typically, large projects take 20% longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80% over budget.

For instance, when building a home, the builder will spend on average 10.6% more than the initial budget that was planned.

Conflicts and rework: Main issues with productivity

Consequently, the Australian construction industry meets productivity problems. In fact, when it comes to productivity, construction lags behind other key Australian sectors, including agriculture and healthcare.

And, a main reason is that construction companies spend over 14 hours weekly dealing with conflict resolution and rework. As a result, they push their high priority tasks to later.

Ensuring the safety of workers

Then, the construction sector is the third riskiest industry, despite the large decrease in work-related injury fatalities since 2007. And, the fatality rate (the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers) has decreased by 53% since the highest rate recorded in 2007.

And, because of the development of safety standards, there are more job offers for health, safety and environment roles across the industry.

Skills and labour shortage

In addition, skills shortages in construction affect 27 of the 46 markets researched (that’s over 58% of the markets) worldwide. And, we find the same challenge here in Australia. So, the Department of Jobs and Small Business of the Australian Government shares skill shortage information by occupation:

– architect
– architectural draftsperson
– building associate
– construction project manager
– surveyor
– urban and regional planner

In construction businesses, there is a need for the following skills:

– bricklayer and stonemason
– cabinetmaker
– carpenter and joiner
– fibrous plasterer
– glazier
– painting trade worker
– plumber
– roof tiler
– wall and floor tiler

Effort to stay competitive

Finally, in the construction world like in any industry, there will be ups and downs. And, that is why it is important to be able to transition from one construction site to another.

So, because of the uncertainty of the moment, many companies are looking for candidates with skills that can transfer across a range of industry sectors – for instance, from road construction to rail projects.

Consequently, it is important to keep an eye on the trends and be prepared for technological and policy changes.

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Education is essential to remain competitive in the Australian construction industry.

Use statistical data

Last but not least, construction industry statistics and data are playing an increasingly important role in the building sector. So, from measuring bid-to-win ratio, to how much a project is over budget or schedule, and KPIs, the more numbers you can put behind your work, the better.

First, make the most use of the data to understand what is working or not working. Indeed, if you understand the market, you are on the path of success. So, use data to reduce costs, find out which areas of your work you can optimise, and where to invest.

And, explore the possibilities of automation and digitisation in this sector. In fact, the challenges construction workers face help us find the technological solutions that can increase the efficiency of each project. And, the industry as a whole.

Enrol in training courses

Second, quality training is power as it is essential to consistent success. So, by training and retraining your skills, you will pursue a successful career in the Australian construction industry. And, you can be confident you are prepared for any major shift in the market!