The release of the 2011 Australian Census figures shows that a greater number of younger people are making up the bricklaying work force.
The graph shows that in the age groups of 18 to 30 years there were more bricklayers in 2011 than in the 2006 Census.
There is a new breed of young bricklayers which is good news for the industry. ABBTF has seen an improvement in the quality of young people operating as bricklaying contractors. They are smart, ambitious and know about productivity and making money.
While the total bricklaying workforce has fallen about 4% from 25,979 in 2006 to 24,872 in 2011, the mix of age groups active in the trade includes a higher number of younger people.
The resulting fall in the average age of bricklayers is due to the record high numbers of apprentices in 2010 and 2011 and young people taking up bricklaying but is not necessarily indicative of a permanent change. The industry is continuing to deal with a serious long term trend of a rapidly ageing older workforce retiring relatively early due to the physical nature of the work, depleting the available skills at a faster rate than they are being replaced by new apprentices.
There were 5,700 bricklayers or 23% of the national workforce over the age of 50 in 2011, which remains an issue for the industry. The ABBTF is working towards achieving continued growth in apprenticeship numbers and improving retention rates of apprentice students to overcome the loss of skills and knowledge when bricklayers retire.
ABBTF General Manager