Infrastructure Australia (IA) has today released its second Infrastructure Market Capacity Report, which reinforces the increasing severity of the skills shortage already being felt across the infrastructure and adjacent industries.
In 2022, public infrastructure projects had a shortage of 214 000 skilled workers. In 2023 labour demand is predicted to grow to a peak of 442 000, which is more than double the projected available labour supply for next year.
This shortfall is at a critical level and if appropriate action is not taken, the consequences will be dire and felt across construction and related industries.
An obvious but complex solution to this problem is accessing the large pool of skilled women who do not currently work in the construction industry, where currently, women only comprise 12% of the workforce, compared to 88% men. This speaks volumes at our failing in maximising potential labour participation in this sector. A key finding of the report was “Difficulties in attracting, recruiting and retaining female employees exacerbates industry’s growing labour shortage, and leads to lost productivity benefits by overlooking the skills and capabilities of a large portion of the workforce” (pg10).
Cultivate Sponsorship was built to help employers overcome this challenge. Cultivate Sponsorship is about making a real difference in female career progression by tackling the systemic and behavioural barriers that exist. This sets organisations up to successfully retain their scarce but valuable female employees; and also attract new women into the construction and infrastructure industries. Prioritising a proactive approach is what will help mitigate the current shortfall of labour, as well as, increasing the diversity of our construction workforce.
Please see below a quote from our Founder, Katriina Tahka, on what this situation means for the construction industry as a whole and how Cultivate it a part of the much-needed solution.
“We face both a huge opportunity and a huge risk in Australia over the next few year. Against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty Australia has a massive opportunity to deliver $237 billion of major infrastructure projects over the next 5 years creating significant employment opportunities for many. Yet at the same time the perceived lack of skilled labour is increasing. Unemployment data shows that we have more people willing to work in Australia however they are typically overlooked. Companies that act now and are forward thinking in their approach to investing in the training and development of people will reap the rewards of an engaged and committed workforce ready to deliver on large scale projects. Sponsorship is a proven methodology for doing this.”