What Has Changed in the Australian Construction Sector?

February 15, 2023 by Mariana Marques

Like so many countries, Australia has faced choppy economic waters over the last few years, with the Covid crisis, tight labour market, and recent inflationary pressures all following one after the other. Australian households are facing the highest cost of living rise in two decades, and the biggest inflation increase in the last 33 years. This has heavily impacted the Australian labour market, now marked by critical skills shortages and a growing need to attract candidates.  

The Post-Covid Australian labour market: where are we at?

When it comes to employer demand for jobs, competition is skyrocketing, and so is the number of jobs being advertised. According to our data, there were approximately 450,000 jobs advertised across the country in the third quarter of 2022. Compare this to the mere 171,000 jobs advertised in Q2 of 2020, and you can see just how steep this growth has been since the start of the pandemic. 

It’s not just the number of job postings that has changed, but how these postings are structured. In such a tight market, the wishy-washy copy you would often see in job ads is no longer successful. To attract talent, employers are adding crucial information to their job postings, such as salary ranges, workplace flexibility, home employment arrangements and bonuses. 

Lightcast offers The Great Reshuffle dashboard, providing you with crucial insights into the Australian labour market based on our enriched datasets. In this article, we focus on the construction sector and how it has changed in the past years.

Construction, reconstructed 

The construction industry has seen a huge boom over the last two years, with Government data showing the number of dwellings under construction rising from around 184,000 in September 2020, to just under 245,000 in September 2022. However, the signs are that this boom has come to an end, with the number of dwellings commenced falling by just over 10,000 from June 2021 to September 2022. 

This slowdown seems to be reflected in the recent announcements of a number of construction firms, such as Delco, WA Housing Group, and Hallbury Homes, all going into liquidation. 

Despite this, employer demand for construction workers appears to have remained strong, with the number of job postings in Q3 of 2022 being around 2.8 times higher than in Q2 of 2020.

This strong demand for construction workers appears to have led to employers offering significantly higher wages. Historically, the median annual salary for construction roles has been just below the median advertised salary across the entire Australian labour market. But from Q4 of 2021 and throughout 2022, wages offered by employers for construction workers increased from around A$51,000 to A$57,000 - A$1,000 above the average across all other jobs.

Although the announcements of a number of construction firms going into liquidation may be a sign of things to come, by and large, it appears that many construction workers have been enjoying more job security of late, with contracting offers declining noticeably since mid-2021, and 98% of job postings for construction roles in Q3 of 2022 being full-time.

Dive deep into the Construction sector 

Overall, the construction industry was deeply affected by The Great Reshuffle, with the number of job postings soaring to an all-time high, and median advertised salaries matching, and then even overtaking, those for all other jobs. Another significant change can be seen with skills requirements. Alongside the kinds of skills we would expect to see, there has also been a huge increase in demand for IT-related skills. 

You'll find much more detail about the consturction sector, as well as other industries such as hospitality and sales, by visiting The Great Reshuffle Dashboard.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can offer your organisation much more of this sort of data for any sector.