10 Carpentry Statistics and Trends in Australia (Updated in 2023)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Carpentry is one of the world’s oldest professions, with examples of the trade found in neolithic Germany over 7,000 years ago. Today, carpenters are everywhere! These people build our homes, furniture, bridges, and much more. Australia, in particular, has had a strong carpentry industry, but the impact of COVID-19 has thrown it into disarray. Let’s delve into some of the most interesting stats and facts about carpentry in Australia.
We’ve separated these facts and statistics into sections, click on the one you would like to review first:
- Carpentry Industry Statistics in Australia
- Facts About Carpenters in Australia
- Carpenter Demographics in Australia
- Frequently Asked Questions About Carpentry in Australia
The 10 Carpentry Statistics and Trends in Australia
- Carpentry is a $10 billion industry in Australia.
- There are currently over 150,000 carpenters working in Australia.
- Australia has the best paid carpenters in the world.
- The carpentry market has declined by 4.5% in 2022.
- It takes an average of three years to become a carpenter in Australia.
- The average carpenter’s salary in Australia is $75,000 AUD per year.
- 87% of Australian carpenters work full-time hours.
- The median age of a carpenter in Australia is 32 years old.
- Women comprise just 1% of all carpenters in Australia.
- 44% of Australian carpenters live outside capital cities.
Carpentry Industry Statistics in Australia
1. Carpentry is a $10 billion industry in Australia.
Carpenters are needed everywhere people live and use wood, so it makes sense that the industry as a whole would make so much money. You probably assume that’s all part of the construction industry, but you’d be surprised: 11% of carpenters in Australia don’t even work in construction. Manufacturing is the second-biggest employer of carpenters, with 2% working in that field.
2. There are currently over 150,000 carpenters working in Australia.
This number has risen from about 122,000 carpenters in 2016 but took a screeching halt as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses and supply lines worldwide. Australia had notably strict lockdowns compared to the rest of the world, and many Australians weren’t allowed to return home for more than a year. As life returns to something resembling normal, we can expect more Australians to pick up the trade soon.
3. On average, Australia has the best-paid carpenters in the world.
(Global Construction Review)
Meanwhile, carpenters are actually in the middle of the pack as far as skilled trades go within Australia. They rank #5, with handymen, electricians, plumbers, and removalists beating them out for hourly wages. There’s no obvious reason for this disparity worldwide, though, because carpentry apprenticeships don’t vary much in length from country to country.
4. The carpentry market has declined by 4.5% in 2022.
This stat isn’t all that surprising when you factor in the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia had some of the most stringent lockdowns, shutting down carpentry alongside most other industries. Because carpenters are typically considered essential workers, many were able to continue work in a limited capacity. Still, demand took a sharp nosedive, and the carpentry industry still hasn’t fully recovered.
Facts About Carpenters in Australia
5. It takes an average of three years to become a carpenter in Australia.
Carpentry apprenticeships have historically lasted up to 5 years, but in Australia, they commonly last between 18 months to 4 years. However, carpentry is a very complex field, and you won’t exit an apprenticeship as a master carpenter. It takes many years of practice and mentorship to make the most of what carpentry has to offer as a profession.
6. The average carpenter’s salary in Australia is $75,000 AUD per year.
That breaks down to about $50,000 USD, which is a very respectable salary for an entry-level worker in the Australian trades. Surveys indicate that entry-level carpenters tend to make around $60,000 AUD per year, while master carpenters with decades of experience can make upwards of $90,000 AUD or more. As with any trade, experience and relevant knowledge are the most important factors determining how much you can make.
7. 87% of Australian carpenters work full-time hours.
(Labour Market Insights)
This is 21% higher than the average recorded full-time hours for other professions, but it makes sense. Carpentry requires a lot of hard physical labor, planning, measuring, and more. People in physically laborious jobs all over the world tend to work more hours per week to compensate for lower salaries. In the case of Australian carpenters, though, they’re raking in the cash by working so much.
Carpenter Demographics in Australia
8. The median age of a carpenter in Australia is 32 years old.
(Labour Market Insights)
Like any trade, carpentry benefits tremendously from being in good shape. Thirty years old is roughly the prime of your life, and most folks haven’t sustained serious injuries at that point. It’s possible the median age isn’t higher because carpentry is hard on the body, and they retire once they’ve made enough. That’s just pure speculation on our part, though.
9. Women comprise just 12% of all carpenters in Australia.
This one hurts but doesn’t come as a shock. Trades are notorious all over the globe for being male-dominated industries, but the U.S. has an even bigger gender gap than Australia! Women make up roughly 6% of all American carpenters, which is still a huge gender disparity, but a bit better than Australia.
10. 44% of Australian carpenters live outside capital cities.
(Labour Market Insights)
This oddball makes sense when you consider that living near large cities offers more work opportunities. Carpenters near capital cities can search for work within the city as well as the suburbs around it. We guess it doesn’t make much sense for a carpenter to go live out in the bush when there’s little in the way of work or wood there.
Frequently Asked Questions About Carpentry in Australia
How do I become a carpenter in Australia?
Aspiring carpenters must undertake an apprenticeship program that lasts 3–5, but programs may only take as long as 18 months. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with more academic learning mixed in so you can get a good feel for how the job works. The only basic requirements for embarking on a carpentry apprenticeship are to be over 16 years of age and hold a White Card that allows you to work on construction sites.
As an apprentice carpenter, you’ll be attached to a fully qualified and experienced carpenter who will teach you everything you need to know. You’ll work alongside them and be paid for your work, but at a much lower rate than a full-fledged carpenter.
That’s not all. You’ll have to acquire a CPC30220 Certificate III in Carpentry, which is the most basic certificate proving you’re a fully qualified carpenter. Once you’ve obtained it, you may work as a carpenter or opt to pursue higher certificates in construction to pursue supervisory jobs in the industry.
What practical skills do I need to become a carpenter?
Most carpentry-specific skills are taught during an apprenticeship, but there are many skills you’ll need to be a successful carpenter. Let’s briefly look at some skills you need before looking into a carpentry apprenticeship.
- Ability to perform a full day of physical labor
- Ability to stand and walk for extended periods of time
- Ability to kneel, reach, and pick up small objects (i.e., nails and screws)
- You work well with others and by yourself
- Honesty and integrity; carpenters are responsible for structurally important work that could hurt or kill people if you take shortcuts
- Attention to detail
- Basic math skills
Is it a good time to become a carpenter in Australia?
The stats above might have scared you into thinking carpentry has no future in Australia, but nothing could be further from the truth. The occupation is still recovering from the pandemic, but in a few years, there will be a huge demand for carpenters and other tradespeople.
Truth be told, it’s never a bad idea to become a carpenter. There are always slow periods in any industry, but carpentry is so ubiquitous that it will never go out of demand. People will always need homes framed, buy wooden furniture, drive on bridges, and so on. If carpentry seems like a good fit for you, don’t let the bleak job outlook scare you away. You’ll be drowning in work in no time!
Can I immigrate to Australia if I’m a carpenter?
Yes! Tradespeople are considered in high demand in Australia, and carpentry is no exception. Carpenters from other countries may apply for a skilled visa to work in the country. If you can find a company to sponsor you, an Employer-Sponsored visa is a great alternative.
Either way, you’ll be required to take a carpentry skills assessment proving that you can do the job, plus you’ll need proof that you’re a carpenter in your home country. If you’re a carpenter intrigued by the idea of working Down Under, looking into a skilled visa might be just the adventure your life needs.
Carpentry is a trade that’ll never die as long as people make stuff out of wood, even if the occupation’s had a rough time in the past few years. Australia has a thriving carpentry industry; if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have the world’s highest-paid carpenters. The field has a grim future outlook, but let’s be real: carpenters in Australia (and elsewhere) will never truly run out of work.
Featured Image Credit: Goodluz, Shutterstock