Are women a key solution in the labour and skills shortage facing Victoria?

Labour and Skills Shortage in Victoria

A labour shortage is a situation where there are not enough workers to meet the demand in a particular geographical area or industry. A skills shortage refers to a shortage of workers with specific skills.

A report by Victoria’s Skill Authority suggests that the state will face a worker shortage of almost 400,000 people by 2025, with construction positions making up 34,000 of that number. The emerging Victorian Skills Plan also states that the trades most in demand would be construction managers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters/joiners.

The report indicates that “Victoria’s labour market is currently experiencing a high-level mismatch, with employers citing a lack of skills as a reason for recruitment difficulties.” This is only expected to worsen, especially in regional areas.

Attracting women to construction

Examining the National Skills Commission Employment Region Industry Profile, John Macdonald noticed some important data. “If we look at the North Eastern Melbourne employment region, construction is the second largest employer in that region. As an employer, it employs the third highest level of young people aged 15 to 24. And it employs at the same time a very high level of people aged 55 plus. So that’s a really good age spread. On top of this, 84% of all people working in the region are employed full-time. That’s a major thing.”

But he goes on to point out, “The major fly in the ointment is this one – the female to male ratio is 11% to 89%. And the other regions in Metropolitan Melbourne, more or less tell the same story.”

For John and for others who want to see the construction industry continue to thrive, it’s glaringly obvious that attracting women to both trades and management positions is key.

“TIV has trained nearly 600 tradie ladies since 2007, and we are proud of that!”

TIV and women in construction

TIV is a leading provider of trade courses and apprenticeships in Melbourne. Its aim is not only to turn out qualified students, but to ensure they understand the things they’ve learned. While trades and other management roles in construction have traditionally been the domain of male students, TIV is making a conscious effort to attract women to the industry.

John says, “One of our missions is to try and reach out to inform people about what the possibilities are if they choose to work in an industry like construction, which in many ways is very attractive because it’s an area of skill shortage. It’s also a growth area, and it’s an area in which people even at the lowest level of labour, are reasonably well paid and well looked after.”

This year TIV want to do even more to encourage young women leaving school to consider a trade career. Likewise, they want to support mature age women who want a career change. The aim is to empower woman of all ages and from all backgrounds, so that they can overcome barriers.

In keeping with this goal, TIV have always fostered inclusive classrooms and workshops maintaining a 15-20% female ratio in each class.

One only has to look at past women who have studied at TIV to understand how the trade school is making positive inroads attracting women to the industry. The stories of BeccaAssiaNadia and Tamara & Lucy leave no doubt that women have a vital and exciting role to play in the future of the construction industry.

If you’d like more information on courses offered by Trade Institute of Victoria, please contact us for a chat.


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