Construction trades grow as building booms

  • Nick Smith
  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Building and Housing

More than half a million people will be employed in  construction-related occupations  by 2021 in support of New Zealand’s building boom, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith say.

The ministers today released the National Construction Occupations Projections report, which shows construction-related occupation numbers are expected to hit 539,500 in the next five years, up 10 per cent from 2015.

“The construction industry was the largest contributor to annual employment growth last year, with 27,500 more people employed,” Mr Joyce says.  “232,000 people now work directly in the construction industry, while a much larger group of 490,000 people work in construction-related occupations.

“The occupations expected to experience the largest growth in the next five years are electricians (14 per cent), plumbers (13 per cent) and civil engineering professionals (11 per cent).”

Dr Smith says the forecasts are based on the National Construction Pipeline Report 2016, and draw on information from the 2013 Census.

“The total value of building and construction work forecast by 2021 is expected to top $200 billion. We’re building more than ever before, and the workforce to support this boom continues to grow,” Dr Smith says.

Mr Joyce says the Government is actively supporting the industry to train more skilled workers to meet the demand for new housing and construction.  Budget 2016 announced a further $14.4 million over four years for 5,500 more apprentices by 2020, along with $9.5 million for Maori and Pasifika Trades Training. The new funding will help meet projected skill shortages in high-demand industries such as construction and infrastructure.

“In 2015, there were almost 38,000 people training in construction-related fields through apprenticeships and industry training, Maori & Pasifika trades training, polytechs, universities and private providers, and trades academies.  This is an increase of 18 per cent over the last four years.  In 2011 less than 32,000 people were in training for construction-related occupations,” Mr Joyce says.

The ministers also launched an interactive web tool which forecasts demand for construction workers to 2021.

The web application - - enables people to check forecasts for 62 construction occupations nationwide, enabling better workforce planning by construction firms and encouraging expanded training by education providers.