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The construction industry needs to brace itself for future challenges

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
The Construction Industry Needs To Brace Itself For Future Challenges

Like many others, the construction industry faces unique challenges that threaten productivity. As the workforce undergoes dramatic changes, leaders in this space must be prepared to adapt.

The future of the construction industry was outlined in the Australian Constructors Association’s (ACA) Foundations and Frontiers (FF24) discussion paper.

A major issue is the lack of productivity plaguing construction employers. According to ACA’s chief executive, Jon Davies, it’s at its lowest in decades.


“At a time when industry productivity is at its lowest in 60 years, the demand for construction workers has never been higher. At the same time, the industry is facing significant workforce imbalances,” Davies said.

“Just 12 per cent of the construction workforce are women, highlighting a significant underutilisation of half of the potential workforce, and more people are leaving the industry than joining it. In the eyes of the next generation of workers, construction is an industry that is stuck in the past.”

Attempting to get more women involved in construction has been a goal for industry leaders for some time now. As previously reported by HR Leader, the participation of women in construction is one of the lowest of all major industries in Australia.

According to Davies, if the industry is to overcome the challenges the future poses, increased participation is needed.

“If the construction industry is to survive and thrive, we need to find ways to attract more people into the industry, keep them in the industry for longer and deliver more projects with them when they are working,” he said.

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn noted how this massive industry is not reaching its full potential as women are being excluded.

“As one of the biggest sectors in the economy, the building and construction industry employs over 1.3 million Australians, but a female participation rate of 15 per cent with only 3 per cent on the tools is simply not good enough,” she said.

“Increased female participation has many benefits; it lifts productivity, boosts the economy, facilitates financial independence, assists in developing an inclusive and diverse culture and meets the much-needed workforce shortages the building and construction industry is facing.”

Further to increased participation of women, migrants could help plug the necessary gaps in the construction workforce.

“Australia is not alone when it comes to skilled workforce shortages, which will prove a challenge in itself. When seeking to attract more skilled trades into Australia, it is important to look to migrants who are already in the country,” Wawn said.

“This is an underutilised cohort of potential workers who could fill workforce gaps in the short term. There are a number of skilled migrants already in Australia who are working in roles below or unrelated to their qualifications or work experience in their home country.”

The survival of the vital industry rests on its ability to attract a new cohort of skilled workers. Employers may benefit from branching out and utilising underrepresented groups of candidates to plug much-needed positions.



The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.