Spotlight on the construction industry

Key statistics on careers in New Zealand's construction industry.

Diversity key to increasing the number of construction workers

Employers need more workers as demand for new homes drives New Zealand’s construction industry.

By 2023 about 43,000 new homes are forecast to be built. Between 2019 and 2023 construction work is expected to be worth about $195 billion. Many employers are struggling to fill jobs because of a shortage of skilled workers at all levels across the industry.

The industry estimates it will need 57,600 new workers in the next seven years to meet demand. In total, it’s predicted the construction sector will have more than 80,000 new and replacement job openings during that time.

Building and construction industry training organisation BCITO had more than 12,000 apprentices in 2018 – a record number. Despite this, the number of secondary school leavers entering training is low. In 2018, only 2.5% of secondary school leavers from 2017 went into construction training.

BCITO wants to increase the total number of people working in construction. The industry training organisation thinks one way to increase the workforce is to focus on attracting more women, Māori and Pacific people into construction training.

Currently, around 3% of people doing construction-related apprenticeships are women. BCITO aims to increase their number to 10% by 2025. Māori make up 16% and Pacific people make up 6% of BCITO trainees and apprentices.

Demand is high for workers across many types of construction jobs. In particular, there are lots of opportunities for plumbers, electricians and truck drivers.

Many graduates from vocational construction programmes with Level 4 certificates and above find work within a year of qualifying. In the plumbing and gas fitting programmes, about 90% of all graduates under 25 find employment within a year.

Nearly 80% of graduates aged under 25 are employed within a year, with a median income of $44,000. For graduates aged 25 to 39 this median income improves by 20 to 25% and for graduates aged 40 or above the median income improves by 15%.

By increasing opportunities for women and for Māori and Pacific workers to access more types of construction training, the construction sector aims to meet the increasing demand for more workers.

Find out more


  • Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, 'Women in construction', accessed May 2019, (
  • BCITO, 'A Constructive Year - BCITO Annual Report 2018', accessed May 2019, (
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Future Demand for Construction Workers', July 2017, (
  • MBIE, 'National Construction Pipeline Report', July 2018, (

Updated 31 Oct 2019