Construction and infrastructure

The construction and infrastructure industry is facing several workforce challenges:

Job Openings

Across construction and infrastructure, Infometrics estimates there will be 29,321 total job openings between 2023 and 2028:

  • -15.2% are likely to be due to new job growth
  • 2% are likely to be due to net replace demand.

Construction sector deficits

Across the construction sector between the same period, there is a severe shortage. WIP reports that Glaziers will see the smallest shortfall of labour while Carpenters and General Labourers will see the largest shortfalls.

WIP reports(external link) — Workforce Information Platform

Civil infrastructure skills deficits

Across the civil infrastructure sector between the period the two most impacted occupations are traffic management labourers and mechanical tradesmen.

Recommendations and insights to address challenges

The following are recommendations and insights from various hui and engagements that look to address these challenges:

Current demand considerations for skills and workforce challenges in Auckland

Construction: With several 5 to 20 year-long major infrastructure investment projects happening in Tāmaki Makaurau, an inter-generational approach will be required to develop the pipeline of education and training needed for these projects, and to capture opportunities to create sustainable, long-term, skilled employment for the local workforce.

Auckland Light Rail: The Auckland Light Rail project is the future expansion of Auckland’s mass transit system (currently trains and buses, with a light rail network). The costs are projected to be approximately $14 billion over the delivery of the project. The bulk of workforce demand will be in general labour, followed by management level skills to oversee a:

  • mechanical
  • engineering
  • rail works
  • plumbing
  • fire systems
  • station controls
  • lifts and escalators
  • tunnelling
  • testing and commissions
  • and finishing trades workforce.

City Rail Link: The City Rail Link is the largest transport infrastructure project ever to be undertaken in New Zealand, building twin rail tunnels with underground stations to cope with rail transport projections of 54,000 passengers an hour at peak travel times. Once opened, it will create a link to all the existing rail lines on the southern, eastern, and western lines for more efficient travel in Auckland. More than 600 general construction jobs have been created and require contractors to give apprenticeships and training during the build, along with options for ongoing employment in trades once CRL is complete. With an updated cost estimate of $5.493bn – inflation, Auckland COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and staff shortages have all heavily impacted the project cost and timeline. The City Rail Link construction programme is due to be completed in November 2025.

Auckland Harbour Bridge Crossing: Construction of a second Waitematā crossing is expected to begin in 2029. Businesses had made it clear that persistent congestion was one of the biggest barriers to the success of Auckland. The full cost and construction period of the multi-billion-dollar investment won't be confirmed until after a decision is made in June this year on what the preferred route and mode would be. Waka Kotahi expects the range to be between $15-25 billion with the most expensive option having 2 tunnels, one for road and one for light rail. Experts have stated such a major project would require contracting in skilled migrant workers to meet project needs.

Auckland Airport: as part of the airport’s wider 10-year-capital programme, Auckland Airport is set to open its multi-billion-dollar terminal integration redevelopment in 2028 to 2029, which will create 2,000 additional jobs at the height of construction.


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Last updated: 13 June 2023