14 June 2006
NZ builder shortage pushes wages up
A chronic shortage of qualified builders in New Zealand has seen starting salaries in the industry rise to unprecedented levels.
The New Zealand Herald reports today how in some cases specialized builders who have just completed apprentice training programmes are starting work on NZ$100,000 (£34,000).
"The chippie has gone from being the lowest on the heap to the top," Registered Master Builders Federation chief executive Pieter Burghout told the newspaper.
He added that builders who were asking $35 an hour three years ago were now demanding $60 or more.
New Zealand's building shortages have come about partly due to a decline in the number of apprentices in the 1990's. This created a situation where homeowners in particular faced waits of up to 18 months for work to be done.
The builder shortage has hit Auckland most, with Tauranga and New Plymouth also badly hit.
The picture for New Zealanders waiting on building work is improving, with 9000 apprentices currently undergoing training, 2000 of whom were expected to complete this year. During the late 1990s, only 800 apprentices a year were joining the industry.
Builders are on New Zealand's Immediate Skill Shortage List and as such applications from these tradesmen are looked on favorably by the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS).
Skilled workers from overseas are attracted to New Zealand by a number of social and economic factors with unemployment static at around 3.6% - one of the lowest rates in the western world.
Anyone who is interested in emigrating to New Zealand should visit the New Zealand Visa Bureau web site and complete the Online Assessment to see if they meet the basic requirements.