There is significant policy momentum in Australia to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for energy production, with most States and Territories committing to emission-reduction targets.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still being felt across many aspects of our lives, but new reports show there is reason for optimism. Kathryn Kernohan reports.
The National Skills Commission recently released a report, Understanding the shape of Australia’s post-COVID-19 workforce, to explore the nature of Australia’s labour market and skills recovery from the pandemic.
The report uses a framework to rank occupations according to their resilience during COVID-19 as well as their likely recovery prospects. This framework was developed by combining data on employment growth expectations before COVID-19 with data relating to the employment experience of occupations during the pandemic and early indications of recovery.
This allows the National Skills Commission (NSC) to list some of the most resilient occupations, that have been less impacted by COVID-19 and have strong future prospects, and the industries in which they sit.
It finds that more than half of employment in resilient occupations is accounted for by three industries - with the construction industry (14.5%) sitting in between health care and social assistance (26.6%) and education and training (13%).
“All industries have been impacted to some capacity by COVID-19, but this report highlights that the construction industry has been more resilient than many other industries and that there is positivity about both the short and long-term futures ahead of us,” says Peter Daly, CEO of Master Plumbers.
“A raft of infrastructure projects right across the country have been funded or fast-tracked as a direct result of COVID-19, including $1 billion in funding for shovel-ready projects announced by the Federal Government last June. In addition, incentives and grants for people to build or renovate homes will ensure a continual pipeline of work for our industry.”
The NSC report finds that employment is now higher than pre-pandemic levels in seven industries, including electricity, gas, water and waste services.
It also concludes that trends that were established out of necessity during 2020, such as increased digitisation and remote working practices, are likely to continue in the short-term.
This is not the first report to predict what the future of the plumbing industry, and broader construction sector, will look like as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
IBISWorld’s recent Plumbing Services in Australia report predicts increased demand in the non-residential construction sector moving forward. The BCI Forecaster, a regular indicator of construction contract values, also found a 26% increase in the value of projects in the October to December quarter in comparison to the previous quarter.