Future Tradie Report

The future of trades

Three businesses have banded together to produce the Future Tradie Report, a research project that explores the ambitions and priorities of Australian tradespeople for the next five years.

Companies Trout, Next and Superseed are all part of the Reece Group and specialise in the trades, construction and home renovation space. To produce the report, they gathered data from 1,075 trades professionals across Australia, interviewed 20 business leaders and conducted 13 in-depth interviews. They also analysed publicly accessible data.

The purpose of the report is to help industry understand the emerging generation of residential tradies. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 75 per cent of the trade workforce will be made up of millennials and Gen Z by 2033 – a cohort who have different expectations and motivators than their predecessors.

General Manager at Trout Creative Thinking, Emily Pockley, says the report has been developed at a time when the industry is at a unique crossroads.

“Trade small businesses are struggling, and the industry is not growing at pace to meet population growth and government housing initiatives,” she says. “The next generation of trades will work, learn and grow their careers differently.”

Despite recent figures showing that the collapse of construction companies has risen by 28 per cent, 49 per cent of the tradies interviewed expressed a desire to open their own company in the next five years.

The research has identified five emerging themes taking shape among the next generation of trade leaders due to ongoing external forces and mindset shifts. This is influencing how they work, recruit and retain teams, what they work on, and how they maintain business stability in uncertain economic times.

The five themes are:

  1. Limitless learning:
    Business coaches, specialist partners, social networks and AI help tradies learn business skills and niche techniques that aren’t taught in TAFEs or on-site. Approximately 38 per cent of surveyed tradies under 25 years old got into their trade to build a business.   
  2. Values reboot:
    Renewed commitment to integrity, professionalism, resilience and self-development to mend the trust eroded by unprofessional approaches. Of the respondents, 24 per cent expect future tradies to prioritise skills, knowledge and continuous learning, and 18 per cent expect work ethic, professionalism and integrity to be prioritised.
  3. Sustainable building:
    Prioritisation of sustainable and long-lasting solutions, so long as they are affordable – 64 per cent of surveyed tradies under 35 years old are either using sustainable working practices or trying to.  
  4. Tradie hospitality:
    Securing more word-of-mouth maintenance jobs and high-value boutique building contracts through elevated levels of client service – 41 per cent of surveyed tradies see service excellence as their company’s competitive advantage.
  5. Magnetic culture:
    Labour shortages and changing expectations of work mean finding and keeping talent is a top priority. Welcoming, vulnerable company culture is a drawcard, even above money. Twenty-five per cent of surveyed tradies under 45 believe having a strong team culture makes their company competitive (compared with only 7 per cent over 45).

“With this report we are shining a light on where industry, government and businesses can play a stronger role in supporting industry growth into the future,” says Pockley.

The full report is available to download here.

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