Fears Rife for Ageing Tradie Workforce

With thousands of Kiwi tradies aged over 65, there are fears the ageing workforce will exacerbate the skill shortage, despite apprenticeship schemes booming and more than $652 million paid to employers.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ chief executive Greg Wallace said its board found 25 per cent of licence holders across New Zealand were 65 and over.

“If the majority of those retire in the next five years you have to build your industry by 25 per cent just to stay neutral. The thing is we are still not training enough people for the current workforce.”

Certified Builders chief executive Malcolm Fleming said about 2700, or less than 10 per cent, of its members were 65 or older. “It’s a reflection that building is a demanding profession on the body, and so those who wish to continue in the workforce past 65 generally transition to less physical roles.”

Master Builders chief executive David Kelly said finding skilled labour was a hot-button issue raised in its State of the Sector findings.

“Projects are growing in complexity and require experienced professional management. In this area, we are competing for talent on an international stage. New Zealand needs a programme to attract workers and simplify the immigration process.”

Master Electricians marketing and communications manager Daniel Jone said it understood concerns with the skills shortage, ageing workforce, and shrinking pipeline due to population growth. Infometrics data supplied to Master Electricians last year showed there were 21,558 people working in the sector. In 2018 the average age of electricians was 42 and 10 per cent were over 65.

Durkin said there were not enough employees in the building and construction sector to meet the needs of the current and future construction pipeline. He acknowledged industry volumes have flattened this year but it “expects demand for skilled labour to remain high to meet the pressure of retiring tradies”.

Contact Tri-Nation Migration for further information

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