“The industry is on track to provide more job opportunities for young people, as the index measuring builders’ intentions to take on apprentices lifted in the December quarter to a seven-year high,” Mr Jones explained.
One-third of respondents said they expect to hire more apprentices over the next six months, with just 2 per cent claiming they will reduce their apprentice numbers.
“It’s a clear and positive signal that the building and construction industry is creating more jobs and career opportunities in one of the nation’s key growth industries,” Mr Jones added.
The figures showed there has been a rise in demand across several trades, including tiling, carpentry and steel fixing. However, senior employees such as site foremen, project managers and supervisors continue to be the most sought-after workers.
Industry confidence rising
Optimism in the construction sector appears to be growing, with the MBA survey showing building activity expectations are also at seven-year highs.
Mr Jones said confidence has been trending upwards over the last two years, and now positive sentiment has reached pre-GFC levels. He claimed company performance also appears to be on the mend.
“The profitability of building firms rose to record the best result in nearly four years and the benefits should flow through to the wider economy, as the survey also recorded a marked improvement in builders’ intentions to invest in plant and equipment,” he explained.
Most of the improvements are in the residential sector, although MBA noted the commercial construction industry still appears to be struggling. According to Mr Jones, the commercial segment may show signs of a recovery soon, but confidence needs to return to maintain long-term stability.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator