Construction jobs: Where to look, what you’ll need

6 min read
Emma Fletcher

There has never been a better time to consider working in the building and construction industry in Australia. With the government investing $100 billion towards transport infrastructure over the next 10 years, construction jobs are only likely to increase.

Most businesses in this industry are either sole traders or very small, employing under 20 people.

So how can you grab yourself a piece of this rapidly-growing pie? Knowing what kind of work is out there and how to find it is the first step. Here we’ll show you where to look and what to do to find the construction job you’re after.

The 5 things you’ll need to get a construction job

Whether you’re a skilled tradie or interested in something less skilled, you’ll need to have:

  1. A White Card.
  2. Your own protective equipment.
  3. Licences.
  4. A Work Visa (if you’re not from here).
  5. General skills.

Before we explain how/where to get each of these, let’s describe the different kinds of construction jobs.

Types of construction jobs

Construction Jobs Electrician Working

Construction work covers a broad range of jobs relating to the building, renovation, repair, maintenance and demolition of buildings and infrastructure.

From planning and surveying right through to the finishing touches, there are a variety of roles in residential, commercial and civil construction. Each role has a different level of qualifications and experience needed.

The main construction jobs fall into these categories:

Builder’s labourer

If you’re short on experience or qualifications, you could look at an unskilled or semi-skilled builder’s labourer job assisting qualified tradespeople on building and construction sites.

These manual roles can include:

  • Unloading
  • Carrying and stacking building materials
  • Erecting and dismantling scaffolding
  • Mixing and pouring concrete

Training is given on the job, with an emphasis on reliability and a strong work ethic.

Skilled tradesperson

Qualified tradies skilled in their craft are highly prized in the construction industry, with these trades in significant demand:

These all require specific training and you can take a building and construction course to get qualified. To find the right training in your area, visit My Skills.

Related: How to get plumbing apprentice jobs

Construction management jobs

Armed with the right qualifications and experience, you can apply for higher-level roles within the industry including construction management jobs. Construction managers work independently on larger scale projects and oversee a team.

Construction Jobs Row of People on Work Site
Like all positions in this industry, the number of construction management jobs are growing.
Photo: Scott Blake on Unsplash

These roles require higher qualifications, leadership skills and technical ability and include:

  • Project managers
  • Site managers
  • Building supervisors

All are in high demand and attract higher salaries to boot.

Working requirements for construction jobs

Like any industry, the building and construction sector is tightly governed with rules and regulations to ensure the safety of all employers and their workers.

Before you can legally start work on any construction site, you’ll need to:

Here’s a complete list of what you’ll need to get construction jobs in Australia:

1. A White Card

A white card is mandatory for working in the construction industry. Depending on your experience and skill, the short course can be completed in one day through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in your area.

A White Card is recognised everywhere in Australia and has no expiry date, as long as you’re working fairly continuously in the industry.

2. Your own protective equipment

Most employers will expect you to provide your own personal protective equipment, such as:

  • Steel-capped safety boots
  • High-visibility clothing
  • A hard hat

Other items such as ear plugs, glasses, goggles or gloves may also be required for certain work sites. Ask your employer what work gear they supply and what you will need to buy yourself.

3. Licences

Depending on the kind of construction job you’re interested in, you may need to hold specific licences to perform high-risk tasks, such as:

  • Traffic control
  • Scaffolding
  • Driving heavy vehicles

Providing you’re over 18 years, you can get a licence through an accredited training provider in the state you’ll be working in.

4. A Work Visa (if you’re not from here)

If you’re not an Australian resident, you’ll need a Visa for the work you intend to do, along with a valid passport and a tax file number (TFN). There are a few different options available:

  • Temporary work visas
  • Permanent work visas
  • Short-stay work visas

If you’re skilled in a trade on the Australian Government’s Skilled Occupation List, you can apply for a skilled migrant visa. Visit the Immigration and Citizenship website for more details.

5. General skills

Aside from physical fitness and a ‘can-do’ attitude, good communication skills are highly-valued in the construction industry along with the ability to:

  • Work well as part of a team
  • Listen carefully
  • Follow precise instructions

If you can tick all of these boxes, you're an ideal candidate for construction jobs.

Where to look for construction jobs

The first step in finding a construction job is to dust off your resume and get it up to scratch.

A resume is a list of your strengths and skills, as well as your work history.

Make sure to include the names and contact info of past bosses willing to recommend you. You’ll also want to highlight that you’re hard working, reliable and punctual, as these are valued on all construction sites.

Don’t have a resume? Search online for “free resume templates,” choose one and fill in the blanks.

There are a number of places to look for construction work, such as through:

Employment agencies and labour hire companies

Construction Safety Helmets

Employment agencies and labour hire companies act as employers, sending workers to fill temporary, contract or permanent positions. Here are a few to check out:

You’ll need to register and provide a resume of your skills and experience so they can match you with the right construction jobs.

Job boards

Online job boards such as Seek, Indeed or CareerOne post new jobs daily, from unskilled general labourer jobs to higher-level skilled construction management jobs.

You can sign up for job alerts to receive the latest jobs advertised.

Or if you’re on a working holiday, check with the Backpacker Job Board or post a local ad on Gumtree to find short-term work.

Alternatively, you can contact the construction companies directly or ask around for personal recommendations and referrals.

Ready to work?

The construction industry in Australia is booming. With large infrastructure projects underway right across the country, plus a significant labour shortage, demand for both skilled and unskilled construction workers is growing.

Make sure your resume is up-to-date and you have the right training and licenses for the role you’re after, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect construction job.