Why Australia Has a Tradie Shortage

Performance Review

Did you know that tradies can earn more than $90 per hour? In fact, many qualified tradies are now earning more than office workers. For example, plumbers in NSW charge an average hourly rate of $85.98, and the earning power of tradies is enabling them to enter the property market earlier than the national average and take luxury holidays usually reserved for retirement. So, if trades offer such financial security, why are apprenticeships are on the decline? Let’s find out.

Australia’s Tradie Shortage Explained

Recent reports suggest that Australia is on the verge of a serious tradie shortage as apprentice numbers continue to decline across the country.

“As a tradie, I’m used to being in high demand. The housing boom and large infrastructure projects across Sydney have most of us working flat out six days a week. We can’t keep up with the work” – Mitchell Browne

Experts believe this is because more young people are choosing to pursue tertiary education instead of undergoing apprenticeships. This has prompted some tradies to call the younger generation a “bunch of softies,” claiming that apprenticeships are dying because they don’t want to do hard labour. But is this really the case? Are there are factors at play?

Drop in Apprenticeships

Queensland, in particular, is reportedly experiencing a traineeship shortage. According to the latest statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 57,100 people were completing traineeships or apprenticeships in 2017. That number is so low that it is almost the same as last century’s statistics.

Nick Behrens, director of Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions, expressed concern that this trend could have a negative impact on the country’s economy.

“We’re running a serious risk of underskilling our economy in future years.”

In other words, Australia will need to look outside its borders for skilled tradespeople. However, Mr Behrens also believes that there are plenty of young people looking for an apprenticeship, but businesses simply aren’t taking enough apprentices on.

Fix The Tradie Shortage

To prevent a serious tradie shortage in the future, certain changes must be implemented. Some propose hiring experienced tradies to teach in schools to encourage more young people to sign up for training programmes and apprenticeships.

“Most tradies have either employed or directly supervised young apprentices. So teaching is an essential part of our job. Combine that with a tradie’s natural flair for story telling and you’ve got someone who would be an asset in front of any class…” –  – Mitchell Browne

However, serious change never happens overnight, and both Federal and State intervention is required. If we think about the decline of the TAFE system and the recent scandal surrounding private training companies, it’s clear a serious rethink needs to happen. Simplifying the process of hiring an apprentice may also assist tradies who simply don’t have the time.

On Line Recruitment is one of the leading labour hire specialists in NSW. We have many labour positions available and can help employers fill trade-related positions including carpenters, electricians, plumbers and more. Get in touch today.