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This page provides high level information and data on the Construction industry which comprises six main industry sectors: 

  • Building Completion Services
  • Building Installation Services
  • Building Structure Services
  • General Construction and Demolition
  • Signage and Building Surveying
  • Specialist Construction Services.

Note: occupations involved in building maintenance/renovation are included in the relevant building sector.

The Construction industry is focused on the construction, demolition, renovation, maintenance or repair of building and infrastructure. It covers a wide range of services, from planning and surveying to structural construction to finishing services such as painting and decorating. The Construction industry generates over $300 billion in the Australian economy annually, and has a projected annual growth rate of 2.5% between 2017 and 2022.

This industry is heavily regulated in many sectors and occupations, with regulations at every level of government. The VET sector plays an important role in the licencing of many occupations in this sector, with regulators requiring completion of VET programs or subjects in order to grant licences.

Most businesses in this industry are either sole traders or very small, employing less than 20 people. They also tend to be Australian owned, with sales occurring in the domestic market. Construction materials are, however, increasingly imported from overseas.

The Construction industry differs from most others in that many states operate training levy schemes for Construction; through industry training boards. The training levies are applied as a portion of the cost of construction project, although there are variations between the states as to how the levy schemes operate. The money collected through the levy is available to cover training costs for workers in the industry. For more information on specific levy schemes, links to the relevant bodies are available under the links and resources heading. 

Information sourced from the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

Employment in the Construction industry has increased between 2000 and 2017, with a slight fall in 2012 that has now been recovered. Employment reached over 1,111,000 in 2017 and is projected to exceed 1,223,000 by 2022. Carpenters and Joiners are the most common VET-related occupation in this industry, at 9.5%. Employment growth for this occupation however is only projected to be 0.2% to 2022. During the same period, employment for Construction Managers and Plumbers is expected to grow by over 10% respectively.

Program enrolments in Construction have fluctuated over the 2014-2016 period, with a high of approximately 205,900 in 2015. Program completions in this industry show a similar pattern, however subject-only enrolments have grown steadily over the same period. There were over 144,000 subject-only enrolments in Construction in 2014, and over 220,000 in 2016.

Industry insights on skills needs

Priority skills infographic Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,, Title: Top priority skills,, Foundation skills, Digital Literacy, Communication skills,,information literacy, managerial/leadership skills,,  Title: Top generic skills,, Financial skills,, Entrepreneurial skills,, Technology skills,, Managerial/leadership skills,, Design mindset,thinking critically,system thinking,solving problems,, Language, literacy and numeracy,, customer services/marketing,, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,,  Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top generic skills in demand,, Communication Skills, Organisational Skills, Planning, Detail-Orientated, Writing,,  Title: Top 5 occupations in demand,, Carpenters and Joiners, Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians, Structural Steel and Welding Trade Workers, Contract, Program and Project Administrators, Civil Engineering Professionals,,  Title: Top 5 locations,, New South Wales, Victoria,Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia,, Title: Top employers,, lend lease corporation limited, kbr incorporated, john Holland, visionstream, thiess,,  Infographic source, Priority skills source: Construction and Plumbing Services IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

According to the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017, the top priority skills in this industry are:

  • Foundation skills
  • Digital literacy
  • Communications skills
  • Information literacy
  • Managerial/leadership skills.

Job vacancy data suggests the key skills in demand from employers in the Construction industry are:

  • Communication skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Planning
  • Detail-oriented
  • Writing skills.

The Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017 underscores the importance of those in the Construction industry maintaining the skills to work within a changing regulatory landscape. There are a number of technological and policy changes that are driving rapid industry-wide change, all of which may have an impact on industry regulation. As the VET sector as a whole has an important role in the training and licencing of workers in this industry, it is vital that training remains current in order to meet regulatory requirements.

The Construction Sector Profile by the Training and Skills Commission warns retaining of apprentices in this industry is becoming more difficult due to increasing expectations and willingness to move jobs in order to seek better opportunities. The profile notes school based apprenticeships show good completion rates despite their unique challenges. Funding of pre-vocational training for apprentices reports as being constrained, meaning it is more difficult to ensure apprentices can be productive on the job during the early stages of their study.

The Construction Technologies Sector Strategy by the State Government of Victoria notes three main areas of focus for enabling growth in the Construction industry: implementation of new digital technologies, use of off-site construction technologies and the use of new construction materials and products. For these areas to be integrated into existing businesses in the industry, workers must be able to efficiently and safely use them in their everyday work. Workers may require training in order to be able to best use these and future developments, highlighting the role VET can play in developing the future of the Construction industry.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

ACT Training Fund Authority (TFA)

Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association of Australia (AMCA)

Association of Consultants in Access (ACA)

Australian Bricklaying and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF)

Australian Constructors Association (ACA)

Australian Industry Group (AI Group)

Australian Institute of Building (AIB)

Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS)

Australian Institute of Waterproofing (AIW)

Australian Sign and Graphics Association (ASGA)

Building Designers Association of Australia (BDA)

Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ)

Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA)

Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia (EWPA)

Housing Industry Association (HIA)

Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory (ISACNT)

Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ)

Master Builders Australia

Master Painters Association (MPA)

Master Plumbers Association

Metal Roofing and Cladding Association of Australia (MRCAA)

National Fire Industry Association (NFIA)

South Australian Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia (SPASA)

Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board (TBCITB)

Western Australian Building and Construction Industry Training Fund (BCITF)


Regulatory bodies

Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)


Employee associations

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU)

Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)

Communications, Electrical & Plumbing Union (CEPU)

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) 


Relevant research

Construction Technologies Sector Strategy - State Government of Victoria

Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017 – Artibus Innovation

Sector Profile Construction 2016 - Training and Skills Commission

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSIC 1 digit Division E Construction Industry, employment projections to May 2022
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations , employment projections to May 2022
    • 3121 Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians
    • 8211 Building and Plumbing Labourers
    • 3312 Carpenters and Joiners
    • 1331 Construction Managers
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3322 Painting Trades Workers
    • 3341 Plumbers

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 1 digit Division E Construction Industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – Employment, Income and Unpaid Work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 1 digit Division E Construction Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Activity, 2016 Program Enrolments by CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services, BCF Off-Site Construction, BCG General Construction and BCP Plumbing and Services Training Packages

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass labour insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related occupations (within the ANZSCO 1 digit level classifications excluding Sales Workers) in the ANZSIC 1 digit Division E Construction Industry. Job advertisements from all of Australia between January 2014 and August 2017 are included. 

Updated: 04 Oct 2018
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