Earthmoving News, Jobs & Training

Thousands of skilled workers needed

A collaborative and balanced approach across industry is needed to enable the construction and engineering industries to do more with less

More than 100,000 new construction workers will be needed by this time next year, according to research from the Australian Constructors Association (ACA) and Consult Australia.

At its current rate, the pipeline of projects and lack of skilled workers would require as many as 105,000 additional workers by mid-2023, according to Consult Australia chief executive Nicola Grayson.

The statement is part of a series of thought leadership papers released by the two organisations as part of a joint effort to find practical ways to improve productivity in the construction, design and engineering sectors amid a scarcity of qualified skilled workers.

While the number of infrastructure projects in the pipeline is reaching record levels, the construction sector is facing a critical shortage of workers, who have become 25 per cent less productive compared to other Australian sectors, the paper says.

The papers outline how the industry could make the most of its current situation, achieving more with less to achieve the desired outcome.

“Through our partnership we have identified some clear inefficiencies and addressing the propensity towards multiple design reviews is a good place to start,” Grayson says.

“These are a real barrier to productivity because they slow the process with little to no value add. By streamlining the review process, skilled resources in short supply can focus on other priorities, improving productivity across projects.”

ACA chief executive Jon Davies says the challenges cannot be solved just through training and migration and instead require a more collaborative and balanced approach from across industry.

“Tendering practices requiring lowest price at the tender box are driving adversarial behaviours,” he says.

“Onerous and unnecessary contract terms and conditions further drive these negative behaviours and are more likely to lead to disputes instead of collaborative problem-solving.”

Instead, the papers call on government clients to commit to changes that will drive positive changes, including taking a more proactive approach in leading projects.

“Given the current shortage of resources, it is crazy that a client will engage engineers to prepare design information, such as geotechnical reports, but force multiple bidding contractors to engage their own engineers to verify the information because they are contractually not allowed to rely on it,” he says.

“Provision of documents such as geotechnical baseline reports on which tenders can be legitimately based will not only save resources at tender, but it could also significantly reduce the amount of time spent on disputes.”

Other recommendations include finding new ways to support the adoption of new technologies and improve the reliance on, and reliability of, tender information.

Send this to a friend