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WA's Residential Construction Boom Presents Perfect Opportunity For Skilled Workers

WA's Residential Construction Boom Presents Perfect Opportunity For Skilled Workers

30 days ago By Emily Harris
Wa's Residential Construction Boom Presents Perfect Opportunity For Skilled Workers Blog Image

The residential construction industry is booming in WA, however, the perfect storm of dual federal and state building bonus grants, the set timelines for construction companies to be eligible for these grants and the inability to recruit interstate or international workers has created an unprecedented demand that companies can’t keep up with.

In fact, in March, WA Today reported that builders had started approaching rival job sites with offers of bonuses and other incentives to try and lure workers to their own projects[1] (Ingram, 2021). A snapshot of the residential construction industry provided by the Government of Western Australia in July stated that the increase in dwelling approvals in WA for the 2020-21 year to date had increased by 89% when compared to the previous year[2] (Government of Western Australia, 2021). While according to the Urban Development of WA, over the course of 2020 greenfield lot sales increased by a whopping 128% (Ingram, 2021). Meanwhile, in January the WA Builders Association predicted that 200,000 homes will have commenced construction in WA by the end of this year; a significant increase from the previous year[3] (Lynch, 2021). 

On top of this, in the Western Australian state budget for 2021-22 which was released this September, it was announced that $875 million will be committed to social housing, taking the total investment in this budget to $2.1 billion; a record social housing investment for the state. This investment is expected to fund around 3,300 new social housing properties and again bodes for an exceptionally busy pipeline for the residential construction industry[4] (Government of Western Australia, 2021).

These statistics paint a picture of an industry stretched beyond capacity in many areas. There are only so many workers to go around and approvals and greenlot sales show no sign of slowing down. Furthermore, the strict timelines that new homes need to have commenced, in order for homeowners to be eligible for government grants are putting even more pressure on building companies. According to the Housing Industry Association of WA, new home builds like this haven’t been seen since the peak of the 2015 boom, and border restrictions have made it even more difficult to source labour (Ingram, 2021). Filling and securing workers within wet trades like bricklaying and plastering have been the most difficult, with many local Perth bricklayers claiming they’ve been run off their feet and having to turn down jobs (Lynch, 2021). But shortages are being experienced across the board from plumbers and electricians to site supervisors and project managers. 

To help manage these significant skills shortages, the WA government has invested $121.4 million in training initiatives, including $32.4 million to get new building and construction apprentices and trainees working on State Government projects. However, with so many prioritised projects needing to start work immediately - especially for homeowners wanting to take advantage of the HomeBuilder grant – experts within the industry are worried these training initiates aren’t enough to relieve the pressure builders are currently feeling.

While the current market doesn’t bode well for homeowner hopefuls (as labour shortages are causing substantial delays), it presents a significant opportunity for skilled workers within the residential construction space. 

The unique set of circumstances created by COVID-19 and government incentives has meant that the range of roles for skilled and eligible workers within the industry are enormous. And, with border restrictions looking to ease in the coming months, the booming WA construction industry can pose some great opportunities for interstate workers looking for a new challenge or change of scenery. 

For those interested in finding out more – either about the Perth residential construction market in general or specific opportunities, feel free to reach out to our dedicated Perth office. Our Perth consultants are working on a number of exciting opportunities that might be the perfect fit! Similarly, for organisations with urgent resourcing needs, we have a professional database of over 55,000 professionals and are dedicated to helping you secure the best candidates to help you achieve your business requirements.

Click here to contact the team and to learn more.

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[1]Ingram, Tess. (2021). WA Tradies are Hot Property as Home Building Goes Through The Roof. WA Today. Retrieved from: https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/wa-tradies-are-hot-property-as-home-building-goes-through-the-roof-20210319-p57cel.html  

[2] Government of Western Australia. (2021). Residential Building Material and Labour Shortages. Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. Retrieved from: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/residential-building-material-and-labour-shortages 

[3] Lynch. Jacqueline. (2021). Bricklayer shortage could blow out timelines for housing, taking advantage of HomeBuilder. Retrieved from: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-23/bricklayer-shortage-blows-out-contruction-timelines/13078272 

[4] Government of Western Australia. Stronger, safer communities. Western Australia State Budget 2021-22. Retrieved from: https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au/2021-22/communities.html 

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