Labor shortage sees looming crisis for Nelson Tasman’s construction industry

Nelson Tasman must start attracting skilled construction workers, or risk a labor crisis, a new report warns.

On Tuesday, the Nelson Tasman Regional Workforce Plan 2022 was released outlining areas of focus in the region.

Developed by the Nelson-Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group, the report found that the workforce in Te Tauihu (the upper south) faced several challenges, including productivity $1.67 billion lower than the rest of the country, and low wages and high property prices. affordability and attractiveness of the region.

The area’s average salary was the second lowest in the country, at $57,476 compared to $65,910 nationally, and for housing affordability the area was second to last.

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Regional Skills Leadership Group iwi co-chair Justin Carter said many companies should start rethinking the “radiant salary” concept to compete nationally because “the workforce votes with his feet”.

A shortage of construction workers could lead to a crisis in the industry in Nelson Tasman, a new report warns.

BRADEN FASTER / Stuff

A shortage of construction workers could lead to a crisis in the industry in Nelson Tasman, a new report warns.

The report highlighted the construction industry, saying there was a “significant gap between our current regional construction workforce and the supply needed to meet current and future levels of demand. of construction”.

In 2022, the region faced a shortage of nearly 3,200 workers, which could reach 3,950 in 2023.

“We are running out of resources now and the forecast is that demand will be in crisis if we don’t start building the skills pipeline now to grow our construction workforce.”

The combination of housing development to cater for a growing population and major infrastructure projects such as Nelson Hospital would put increasing pressure on the industry, said co-chair Ali Boswijk.

Nelson-Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group co-chair Ali Boswijk said the construction industry was in a

BRADEN FASTER / Stuff

Nelson-Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group co-chair Ali Boswijk said the construction industry was in a “perfect storm”.

“There’s a bit of a perfect storm now in terms of being able to do the projects we want and having the skills that show up on a continuous basis.”

The region needed to have training and career paths available for rangatahi (young people) who might have already left the region, she said.

“The main focus is how we basically develop our own talent instead of having to bring it in.”

Iwi co-chairman Justin Carter said there was no doubt that filling the construction labor gap would be “difficult”.

Justin Carter, co-chair of the Nelson-Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group iwi, said a skills center could help industry work together.

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Justin Carter, co-chair of the Nelson-Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group iwi, said a skills center could help industry work together.

“For some of our infrastructure projects, that means they’ll go a lot slower and cost a lot more.”

Among the actions outlined in the report was seeking central government funding for a construction skills hub to help industry share resources, he said.

Fitzgerald Construction project manager Charlie Evans said vacancies were advertised as they tried to fill vacancies.

“They certainly don’t come through the door anymore.”

He agreed training and apprenticeships were the best way to try to tackle the shortage, hoping that at least some would stay in the area.

“Training is the only solution I can think of, but there are a number of skills versus people that need training that you need in your staff.”

Skill sharing was something that already happened naturally in the industry, he said.

The report also warned that an aging population was hitting the region hard and companies should find ways to keep older workers in their jobs and encourage rangatahi (young people) to train and work in the region.

Training and career pathways to retain young people in Nelson Tasman are central to the regional workforce plan.  (File photo)

MARTIN DE RUYTER/Stuff

Training and career pathways to retain young people in Nelson Tasman are central to the regional workforce plan. (File photo)

By 2023 it was projected that 60% of the population of Nelson and 61% of Tasman would be of working age (15-64). But by 2048, this is expected to drop to 51% and 54% respectively.

Carter said the change in the workforce would be “huge” and reinforced the need for strong pathways for rangatahi to train and enter the workforce in Nelson Tasman.

“The local attractiveness of study courses will be decisive for some of our young people. »

Boswijk said companies should also find ways to keep older workers in the industry.

The plan was the first in a long series that would also look at other industries and demographics as labor struggles were felt across businesses, she said.

Michael A. Bynum