Construction managers, who are typically highly skilled and experienced, are increasingly required to fill jobs in the construction industry in order to stay in business.
The job growth, however, has slowed since the construction boom of the early 2020s.
This is due to a combination of factors including the downturn in construction sector employment and a reduction in demand for skilled construction workers, according to a new report from the Australian Council of Construction Industry (ACCI).
The report is a reflection of a changing industry that has witnessed a decline in construction jobs since the start of the construction downturn.
“We’re looking at a job market that is not growing,” said Nicky Smith, senior lecturer in construction management at RMIT University.
“There are more and more skilled workers in the industry and the number of vacancies are increasing.”
Construction managers who have a bachelor’s degree are required to provide the construction management degree.
In the case of the recent boom in construction, these new graduates have become a growing source of demand for construction jobs, according Smith.
Construction management graduates are often used to fill skilled construction positions, but they can also help the construction companies fill skilled jobs in a wider range of sectors.
A construction manager from a construction company that provides construction management services to the City of Melbourne said they usually have a shortage of staff.
“When we’re talking about construction jobs the company doesn’t want to hire us because they have a need for skilled workers,” said a construction manager with a firm that works in the Melbourne CBD.
“The industry is now in a boom stage and demand for staff has grown so fast, there’s no way they’re going to let us hire staff, even though we’re qualified.”
Smith said a shortage in skilled workers has been a major factor in the growth of the job market.
“Many construction workers don’t know where to go for help and support if they’re looking for a job,” she said.
“They don’t have a local recruiter.”
There are currently more than 50 construction companies employing more than 400 construction managers across Australia.
The number of vacant construction jobs has risen by 1,000 per cent over the past five years, with the number rising by more than 25 per cent in the past year alone.
Construction managers said they’re now working to recruit more construction workers to the industry.
“A lot of the young construction workers we’ve recruited have got construction management experience and they’re able to help with all the aspects of the industry, from site preparation to job interviews, from the planning of a project to the project manager and so on,” said Smith.
“So that means there are lots of opportunities for us to recruit those new young people.”
Construction workers who have had a construction management job said they were more likely to seek out a construction job if they were a woman.
“If you’re a woman and you’re interested in being a construction worker, then it’s a really good choice,” said the construction manager.
“You’ll be able to get paid fairly well and get more experience than the men,” she added.
The ACCI report recommends that construction management graduates look for jobs with less stress and have a broader range of experience.
“Our report also indicates that the construction workforce is growing rapidly, with some industry sectors seeing increases of 50 per cent or more,” said ACCI chief executive officer, Pauline Mihi.
“While we recognise there are still more construction jobs in Australia than ever before, the majority of people in construction are being left behind in the labour market.”
Construction management degrees are currently awarded at RMTS University, which is home to RMIT’s Centre for Research in Construction Management (CRM) and RMIT Construction Management Institute.
The departmental report noted that the number in the sector has grown by 7.3 per cent since 2008, but it said that the rate of growth is likely to remain flat for the next few years.
The report also found that in 2017, there were 6,700 construction jobs advertised across the sector.
“Given the rapid growth of construction in recent years, it is likely that the sector will continue to be a key driver of job growth for the industry for the foreseeable future,” the report said.
It said the rise in demand has led to a shift in the recruitment of construction workers in relation to industry.
In 2017, the number on the vacancies market was up by 2.7 per cent, from about 10,000 to 17,000.
“As more and better skills are created, employers are able to recruit the most qualified workers to fill these vacancies,” the ACCI said.
Construction Management Graduates are required by the Department of Employment, Innovation and Skills to take an Engineering degree.
They can apply for a construction master’s degree.
For more information, contact the ACPI’s Victoria branch on 13 13 18 or email: [email protected]
The ABC contacted RMIT for a comment.