2017 was a big year for the construction industry. The nationwide investment towards construction is estimated to peak at $37 billion in 2020. It is not known whether these figures have been exceeded or overestimated. With a new Government in New Zealand, it is expected that investment in construction nationwide will increase as houses are being built for families. Canterbury will continue with the rebuild, it will be Auckland and surroundings areas that will see greater investment towards building homes.

Demand for construction workers across the country is expected to increase by 11 per cent in the next 6 years, an estimated 56,000 more employees. Bringing construction-related occupations to around 570,000 employees. Of these employees, electricians, plumbers and civil engineering professionals will be in high demand. New Zealand construction industry is experiencing considerable growth. Investment in Auckland housing, the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquake rebuild, Wellingtons roading projects and earthquake strengthening, are part of the driving force behind the high demand for construction workers.   


Since records began in 1989, the March 2017 quarter has seen the highest value of building work. Residential building rose 14.2 per cent from March 2016 quarter to $3.3 billion. Non-residential building rose 5.1 per cent to $1.7 billion in the same quarter. With rising population and increasing natural disasters, due to modern issues such as climate change, it is no surprise that construction is leading the employment sector. For the year ending March 2017 the construction industry contributed 6.1 per cent of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product. This made construction NZ’s second most profitable goods producing industry, second to manufacturing.

Leading Employment Growth:

With over 245, 600 employees working in construction, the industry is a large contributor for annual employment growth. There were 15,300 more workers employed in construction related occupations from March 2016 to March 2017. Most of this growth occurred in the Auckland and Wellington region with a combined increase in employment of 11,100. Christchurch has surpassed its construction peak and has reduced by 5,000 workers.

Regional Level:

The largest construction workforce required in New Zealand is in Auckland. It is expected with population increases and new home builds, over 190,000 construction workers will be required by 2022. Through reaching this target, employment levels will increase 18 per cent between 2016 and 2022. Plumbers, project builders and carpenters and joiners will make up majority of this growth.  

Waikato and Bay of Plenty:
The regions experienced significant growth in 2016, with residential values increasing by 19 per cent. The value of building in the region is expected to increase by $7.4 billion in 2020. Most of this will be due to the increase in residential buildings, while non-residential remains stable. Construction employment is expected to increase around 15 per cent to 90,000 employees, a 11,000 worker increase by 2022.

Canterbury experienced peak levels of construction workers and investment due to the earthquake rebuild. In 2014, Christchurch experienced a flood of workers in the construction industry. The rebuild is already well underway. With a surplus in housing, construction workers are no longer in such high demand. This is the only main region that is expected to have a decrease in construction workers of 1 per cent by 2021. Major parts for the rebuild will be completed and what will remain will mostly be commercial properties to construct.

Construction demand is expected to increase by 9 per cent to over 52,000 employees by 2022. Truck drivers and project builders are among those who are expected to be in high demand. Investment towards construction is expected to increase by 16 per cent from $2.4 billion to $2.8 billion in 2019.  

These statistics indicate that the economy is still strong and is predicted to grow. As population increases nationally and internationally, there is a need for greater infrastructure and housing.  

These predictions are calculations based on what would be necessary to sustain projected levels of construction. Having the right people with training is another consideration. There might be increase in job opportunities, but there needs to be an increase in trades people and people becoming qualified.