When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Australian trades businesses of all shapes and sizes had to tighten their belts to survive. Demands for trades work dropped to record lows and many tradies were left without jobs.
Fortunately, Australia has been proactive in their recovery efforts, and employment numbers are slowly clawing their way back up. Of course, there are still many uncertainties about trades work in 2021, specifically which services will be highly sought after.
If you want to keep your finger on the market’s pulse, here is a prediction of Australia’s most in-demand trades services in 2021.
While many trades took a big hit during the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the plumbing industry was relatively unscathed. The National Skills Commission (NSC) considered plumbing as a highly resilient trade. Their recent report found that 92 plumbers were employed in the third quarter of 2020, which is significantly higher than other Australian occupations.
Additionally, the Australian Government increased occupational ceilings for skilled migrant plumbers from 5,060 to 5,861. At the same time, plumbers earn around $1,894 per week, which is 25% higher than average job earnings. Such high compensation indicates that market demand for plumbing services is strong despite the presence of COVID-19.
These trends are likely the result of more people working from home and frequently using their sanitary and water facilities. This means there’s a greater need for plumbing maintenance, sanitary fixtures, drainage installations, pipes fittings, and so on. Toilet paper shortages at the start of the outbreak, in particular, led to Australians looking for alternatives like bidet products and installation services.
Carpenters and joiners
Carpentry services took a big hit in the middle of 2020 due to the economic conditions created by the pandemic. After all, people were more concerned about making ends meet rather than renovating or building a new home. Current building projects were therefore delayed for both safety and financial reasons.
However, government support may increase demand for carpentry services back to pre-COVID levels in 2021. The HomeBuilder stimulus, which grants $25,000 to build and renovate a home, is expected to create up to 27,000 housing units across the country. Eligible parties can also benefit from an additional $10,000 for the first home owner grant. Plus, there’s a push for the government to deploy further stimulus measures to sustain industry activity and economic recovery.
By incentivising construction projects through these stimulus packages, carpenters will have more work on their hands. The expected changes are actually already taking effect, with over 2,300 vacant carpenter positions available on SEEK as of this writing. Experts even predict that the carpentry industry is projected to grow by 11.5% over the next five years.
Painting trades workers
According to the NSC, painting trades work is an occupation that managed to weather the harsh economic conditions set by the pandemic. By the third quarter of 2020, over 50 tradies in this category filled vacant positions during the lockdowns. There were barely any fluctuations in pay, with the average painter earning $33.46 per hour. Job outlook forecasts even estimate that there will be over 57,900 painters by 2024.
Government stimulus packages are a major contributor to the continued success of this industry. Thanks to these grants, people have more spending power for services like interior decorations, paint maintenance, and protective coatings for building exteriors. Painting projects are also much more affordable than full-scale construction projects, so clients are less inclined to postpone them during an economic downturn. For these reasons, painting trades work will still be in high demand coming into 2021.
The electrical service industry is another strong contender for the most in-demand trade in 2021. In SEEK, there are over 4,300 job opportunities for qualified electricians and the industry is projected to grow by 4.9% by 2024. Electricians also command average annual salaries of $83,000, which illustrates just how valuable their unique expertise are. Even recent occupation statistics shows that Australia is willing to invite up to 8,021 electricians from overseas to fill skill shortage gaps.
One explanation for why electricians are in high demand is because of the massive remote working trend. As more people work from home, they require reliable electrical systems and appliances to stay productive and connect with their workplace. Moreover, Australia tends to suffer long power outages during disaster season in the beginning of the year. Highly qualified electricians are therefore a necessity to keep the lights on and ensure everyone is living comfortably.
From 2014 to 2019, the number of people occupying construction management positions increased from 76,300 to 86,600. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, derailed this growth as many clients and businesses postponed construction projects throughout the first half of 2020. Similar to carpentry services, demand for construction management jobs was revitalised due to the stimulus packages.
What’s more, now that Australia is on its way to recovery, more commercial building and civil construction projects will resume. This will likely lead to an increase in construction management positions that need to be filled in 2021. In fact, the government opened 7,145 construction manager positions to migrant workers to meet growing demands.
Although there’s a bright future for all the aforementioned trade services, tradies will have their work cut out for them in 2021. To remain competitive and profitable, trades businesses must innovate and find new ways to streamline their processes. This is where job management software WorkBuddy comes in. From job scheduling to invoicing to safety compliance, our solution offers powerful features that can help your business thrive. Get in touch with us today to learn more.