Construction industry feel effects of ageing population

CONSTRUCTION Skills Queensland (CSQ) called for greater collaboration to combat the significant challenges the building and construction industry will face over the next two decades as a result of Queensland's ageing population.

Speaking at the Ageing Well Forum in Brisbane, CSQ Director of Evidence and Data Robert Sobyra outlined the potential impact on the industry arising from an ageing workforce.

"Research recently undertaken by CSQ revealed that the state's growing but ageing population will need an industry-led response to ensure the construction industry is not left vulnerable," Robert said.

"As the population grows so too does the demand for housing and infrastructure. However, an ageing population means less people of working age to draw a workforce from.

Mr Sobyra cautioned that an ageing population also means a less physically capable workforce. 

"Construction is a demanding job and it is a simple reality that older workers are not as physically capable as they are when they were in their 20's or 30's," Robert said.

"In the past, younger tradies would carry the burden of some of the more physically demanding tasks, but with less young people in the industry there will be fewer opportunities for older workers to receive a reprieve from the more physically gruelling tasks." 

According to CSQ, the answer lies in technology, but the industry will need to move with the times.

"We are a conservative industry and we don't change easily or often," Robert said.

"Aside from the introduction of the nail gun and lithium-ion batteries there have been very few changes to the construction industry over the past two decades."

"In the coming years our challenge will be to build smarter and the only way we will be able to achieve that is by the whole industry embracing technology and productivity-enhancing innovations in building processes."

CSQ is taking a sustainable long term approach to training that matches demand, is resilient, flexible and provides industry with confidence and certainty, now and into the future. 

The organisation, together with the CSIRO is working on The Farsight Project which aims to predict how the role of construction workers will evolve over the next 20 years.

"Farsight will provide a vital roadmap as the industry enters a period of major transition where jobs and workers in the industry of the future won't look very much like they do today," Robert said.

Robert Sobyra, Director of Evidence and Data at CSQ was one of the presenters at today's Ageing Well Forum in Brisbane.

The forum was presented by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland in collaboration with the Centre for Workplace Leadership and will provide research and insight into the challenges and opportunities of managing an ageing workforce. 

For more information about careers in construction, contact CSQ on 1800 798 488 or visit

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