Industry concerned by impact of Victoria’s declining population
The building and construction industry continues to face multiple challenges that are combining to cause great concern to industry peak bodies.
On top of supply chain disruptions and insolvencies, Victoria’s declining population has heightened skills shortages says Master Builders Victoria (MBV).
Restrictions placed on international borders and ongoing lockdowns have played a large part in Victoria’s declining population.
In Victoria, the September 2021 quarter saw a further population fall of 6004 people, leading to a decrease in population of 32,716 over the 12 months to September 2021.
MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said that Victoria had seen five consecutive quarters of population decrease.
“This has not been seen since ABS data collection began in 1981 and places even more pressure on the current skills shortages impacting the building and construction industry,” Ms Casson said.
“The last time our state experienced a fall in population was in the June 1993 quarter, nearly 30 years ago, when Victoria recorded a fall of 499 people.”
This decrease in population has further impacted the current skills shortages in Victoria, with the industry already seeing chronic shortages across carpentry, bricklaying, project managers and building surveyors.
Ms Casson said supply chain disruptions and skills shortages disrupt the building and construction industry’s ability to keep up with the pipeline of work ahead.
“Supply and skills shortages must be addressed for the building and construction industry to continue supporting the Victorian economy and consumers to afford housing, to protect consumers, we need to protect builders.
“While it is pleasing to see Victoria leading the nation in the number of women working in the building and construction industry,” Ms Casson said, noting more needed to be done.
“Although more women are active in building and construction now than in the past, women still only made up 11.6 per cent of all employees in the building and construction industry in February 2022.”
Meanwhile, at the end of February 2022, the building and construction industry generated approximately 305,700 full-time and part-time jobs.
This was down 16,000 (5 per cent) from the previous quarter but up 14,930 (4.7 per cent) from the February quarter of 2021.
Building and construction is Victoria’s fifth-largest employer across all industry sectors, providing 8.7 per cent of total employment opportunities for Victoria
However, measured in total full-time employment terms, Ms Casson said the contribution of the building and construction industry was even more significant.
“Building and construction is Victoria’s third largest full-time employer, having contributed around 11.1 per cent of Victoria’s full-time employment as of February 2022,” she said.
With the big shift of population from the cities to regions, the Regional Australia Institute report that an increase in overall business growth has created 72,500 job vacancies across regional Australia resulting in a massive shortage of bodies on the ground.
In regional Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire had the biggest percentage increase with 4.4 per cent growth for the year, amounting to 1517 new residents.
Geelong’s population grew by 1.8 per cent, adding 4725 people.