Challenges in Hiring Stonemasons in Australia

Addressing the Challenges in Hiring Stonemasons in Australia

The stonemasonry industry in Australia plays a crucial role in the manufacturing and construction sectors, employing many skilled professionals across various states. Despite the essential role stonemasons play in the Australian workforce, the industry faces notable challenges in hiring stonemasons.

In this blog, we will discuss the challenges and factors contributing to the scarcity of skilled stonemasons and the impact this has on large-scale construction projects. By understanding the complexities of the current labour market, employers can better strategize their recruitment efforts to attract and retain the skilled stonemasons necessary for sustaining the industry’s growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Australia’s stonemasonry sector is vital to the construction and manufacturing industries, yet it faces challenges in hiring skilled stonemasons due to skill shortages and competition from other sectors.

  • The industry must address these challenges by promoting stonemasonry as a rewarding career option and improving training and apprenticeship programs.

  • Employers can attract and retain stonemasons by offering competitive wages, benefits, and clear paths for career advancement.

  • Addressing the aging workforce and enhancing the visibility of stonemasonry among younger generations are critical steps for the industry’s future.

  • Strategies like targeted recruitment campaigns, partnerships with educational institutions, and leveraging technology can help overcome hiring challenges.

Stonemasons in Australia

Image Source: mynextmove.org

The Demand for Skilled Stonemasons

The current demand for skilled stonemasons in Australia reflects the robust construction industry and the need for specialists in the manufacturing sector. This demand is highlighted by the variety of job listings and opportunities for stonemasons across regions, indicating a healthy market for these tradespeople.  However, meeting this demand is challenging because of a limited workforce.

Identifying Key Challenges in Hiring Stonemasons

While stonemasons remain vital to Australia’s construction and manufacturing industries, the sector faces significant hurdles in recruiting and retaining skilled workers. Let’s delve deeper into the specific challenges in hiring stonemasons.

1. Skill Shortages

The scarcity of skilled stonemasons underscores the gap between the industry’s growing demands and the available qualified workforce. This challenge emphasizes the crucial role of vocational training and apprenticeships in cultivating a new generation of skilled stonemasons to meet the sector’s needs. 

2. Competition from Other Sectors

The Australian construction industry’s rapid growth, driven by significant infrastructure and residential projects, has led to intense competition for skilled labour, amplifying the challenge of hiring and retaining skilled stonemasons. This competition is further strained by a forecast done last 2023 on a shortfall of over 100,000 construction workers. With the existing lack of skilled labour until today, an urgent need for the industry to embrace digital and sustainable construction methods is needed to attract talent. 

Most stonemasons work in the construction industry. They are also employed in manufacturing and other industries. The table below represents the distribution of stonemasons across various industry sectors in Australia.

Industry SectorPercentage
Construction79.4%
Manufacturing19.3%
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing0.4%
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services0.4%
Other Industries0.4%

3. Aging Workforce

The aging workforce in Australia’s stonemasonry sector presents both challenges and opportunities. Employers face the task of addressing skill shortages and knowledge transfer as older workers retire, highlighting the importance of succession planning and training for younger workers. At the same time, the experience and expertise of older workers can significantly contribute to productivity and mentoring within the industry.

Age BracketBricklayers and Stonemasons (%)All Jobs Average (%)
15-195.15.0
20-2412.69.3
25-3425.522.9
35-4420.422.0
45-5419.721.6
55-598.59.0
60-645.66.0
65 and Over2.74.2
Median Age3840

The table above shows the age of bricklayers and stonemasons in Australia and has median age of 38 years. This is below the all-job average of the 40 years.

4. Lack of Awareness

Stonemasonry offers a rewarding career path with opportunities for creativity and skill development. Despite its rich history and the demand for skilled artisans, stonemasonry needs more visibility as a career choice among young people. Training and experience, potentially through apprenticeships, are crucial to entering this field.

5. Workplace Perceptions

The perception of stonemasonry as physically demanding and with limited career progression can deter potential candidates. However, a career in stonemasonry offers opportunities for creativity, problem-solving, and working with various materials. It’s a skilled trade where experience can lead to multiple roles, such as fabricator, fitter, or polisher, showing that the trade has much more to offer than is often recognised.

6. Comparison from other Trades 

Other skilled trades might offer more competitive wages, flexible work arrangements, or perceived higher social status, attracting talent away from stonemasonry. 

  • Approximately 78% of bricklayers and stonemasons work full-time hours across all of their employment. This is 12% higher than the overall job average (66%).

  • The median full-time wages per week of stonemasons is $1,401, much lower than the overall job median ($1,593).

Hiring Challenges in Stonemasonry Sector

Image Source: freepik

Strategies for Overcoming Hiring Challenges

Addressing the challenges in hiring stonemasons within the stonemasonry sector in Australia requires a multifaceted approach. Employers must adopt and prioritise training, innovation, and inclusivity.

1. Raising Awareness and Promoting the Trade

  • Targeted campaigns: Develop campaigns highlighting career opportunities, job satisfaction, and good wages in stonemasonry. Utilise social media, trade publications, and school career fairs to reach young people and potential career changers.

  • Community outreach: Partner with schools, training providers, and community organisations to showcase stonemasonry through demonstrations, workshops, and mentoring programs.

  • Competitions and awards: Organize stonemasonry skills competitions and award programs to recognise excellence and generate interest in the trade.

2. Improving Training and Career Pathways

  • Flexible and accessible training: Offer diverse training options, including apprenticeships, traineeships, and short courses, to cater to different learning styles and needs. Consider online and blended learning models to improve accessibility.

  • Focus on career development: Provide clear career pathways for stonemasons, outlining opportunities for advancement, specialisation, and leadership roles. Offer mentoring programs and professional development opportunities.

  • Standardize qualifications: Ensure consistency and recognition of stonemason qualifications across Australia. Streamline the accreditation process and promote the value of qualifications to employers and job seekers.

3. Enhancing Industry Attractiveness

  • Address workplace issues: Encourage safe and healthy work environments, offer competitive wages and benefits, and promote work-life balance to attract and retain workers.

  • Highlight creativity and innovation: Showcase stonemasonry’s artistic and problem-solving aspects to attract individuals seeking fulfilling and intellectually stimulating careers.

  • Promote diversity and inclusion: Actively encourage women, Indigenous Australians, and other underrepresented groups to consider careers in stonemasonry.

4. Collaboration and Advocacy

  • Industry collaboration: Establish partnerships between stonemasonry businesses, training providers, and government agencies to develop and implement effective strategies.

  • Government support: Advocate for government policies that support the stonemasonry industry, such as funding for training initiatives, tax breaks for employers who hire apprentices, and investment in infrastructure projects that require stonemasonry skills.

  • Data and research: Collect and analyse data on the stonemasonry workforce to identify emerging trends and inform effective strategies.

5. Accessing Government Support

The Australian Government has launched the National Skills Agreement to bolster vocational education and training. This initiative includes

  • A $12.6 billion investment to enhance access to quality training and address skills needs.

  • Grants and subsidies aimed at supporting both existing workforce skills development and training for critical and emerging industries.

Attracting skilled stonemasons requires a multi-pronged approach. By showcasing career opportunities, providing diverse training options, and promoting a positive work environment, Australia’s stonemasonry industry can secure its future and contribute to cultural preservation.

Different Sources to Hire Stonemasons

Regarding hiring skilled stonemasons, employers have a variety of tools and platforms at their disposal. These sources range from traditional job boards to innovative digital marketing strategies and international recruitment efforts. 

SourceDescription
Traditional Seek and IndeedMainstream job boards offer wide exposure and the ability to post detailed job descriptions.
GumtreeA local marketplace ideal for reaching individuals interested in trades and local job opportunities
Facebook Community GroupsEnable direct engagement with potential candidates within specific geographical areas or interest groups
Offering Sponsorships for Overseas WorkersExpands the talent pool by tapping into international skilled workers seeking opportunities
Offering Above Average SalaryAttracts top candidates by differentiating from competitors in a tight job market
Retaining High Company ReputationA reputable workplace attracts and retains employees, reducing turnover and building a strong team
Referrals from Current and Past EmployeesLeverage personal networks for candidates with an implicit endorsement of their skills
Google AdWordsTargets individuals actively searching for stonemasonry jobs or career information online

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Conclusion

Addressing the hiring challenges in the stonemasonry sector requires innovative strategies to ensure the industry’s sustainability and growth. We can attract and retain the skilled workforce needed to preserve Australia’s construction and manufacturing landscapes by fostering awareness, enhancing training opportunities, and advocating for supportive policies.

At Dayjob Recruitment, we understand the intricacies of the stonemasonry industry and are dedicated to bridging the gap between skilled stonemasons and reputable employers. Let us help you navigate the complexities of the labour market and secure the skilled professionals your projects demand. Contact us today to learn how we can support your hiring needs and contribute to the stonemasonry industry’s thriving future.

Interested in how we can support your role as an employer? Click below to learn more.

FAQs

How can companies effectively find and recruit skilled stonemasons amidst the current labour shortages?

To effectively find and recruit skilled stonemasons, companies should adopt a strategic and multifaceted approach:

StrategyDescription
Targeted Recruitment CampaignsUtilize social media, trade publications, and participate in school career fairs to highlight the benefits and opportunities within the stonemasonry sector
Partner with Educational InstitutionsParticipating in or sponsoring stonemasonry workshops, demonstrations, and apprenticeship programs can help in identifying and attracting new talent early in their career journey
Promote Diversity and InclusionActively encourage a diverse range of candidates, including women and Indigenous Australians, to consider a career in stonemasonry
Competitive Benefits and Opportunities for AdvancementAddress key concerns of potential recruits by offering competitive wages, benefits, and clear career advancement opportunities

What are the unique benefits of pursuing a career in stonemasonry that have yet to be widely known?

Stonemasonry is not only about physical labour; it involves a high degree of craftsmanship and artistic skill, offering a unique blend of creativity and technical work.

Stonemasons are satisfied with seeing their work stand the test of time, contributing to functional structures and beautiful, historic restorations.

Are there any initiatives or programs in Australia to address the gender imbalance in the stonemasonry profession?

Various industry bodies and vocational training institutions have begun implementing initiatives to attract more women to the trade. These include targeted outreach programs, mentorship schemes pairing aspiring female stonemasons with experienced professionals, and scholarships designed to alleviate the financial burden of training in this skilled trade.

What role does technology play in attracting top talent in stonemasonry?

Technology plays an essential role in attracting top talent to the field of stonemasonry by significantly easing the physical demands and enhancing precision in the craft. Modern advancements, such as computer-aided design (CAD) software, laser-guided cutting tools, and robotic automation, have transformed traditional stonemasonry into a more accessible and appealing profession. 

These tools not only reduce the manual labour and physical strain associated with shaping and placing stone but also allow for more intricate and accurate designs, broadening the creative possibilities. As a result, the sector can attract a diverse range of individuals, including those who may be interested in the artistic and design aspects of stonemasonry, as well as those who are drawn to the innovative use of technology in a historic craft.

What is the career path of a Stonemason?

The career path of a Stonemason in Australia involves cutting and shaping stone to create structures and monuments. It can start with an apprenticeship and may lead to running projects or managing teams.

Are stonemasons in demand in Australia?

Stonemasons are in demand in Australia, especially with the construction industry’s robust growth requiring specialized skills for various projects.

Why are stonemasons important?

Stonemasons are important because they possess unique skills to work with natural stone, contributing to the construction and restoration of enduring structures, thus playing a vital role in both historical preservation and new developments.

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