Skills shortages in the Christchurch sub-contracting sector

Imelda Saran Piri, Yan Chang-Richards, Suzanne Wilkinson

ANDROID Residential Doctoral School Proceeding, 5th International Conference on Building Resilience, Newcastle, Australia, 15-17th July 2015
The paper received the ANDROID Residential Doctoral School 2015 Best Paper Award.


In the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake, the construction industry was confronted with intensified resource competition, a constrained pool of labour, unmet demand for accommodation and instabilities in workload outlook. Subcontracting is an integral part of the Christchurch reconstruction. Therefore, subcontractors’ capability and resource capacity are pivotal to the project success. Despite the subcontractors’ domination in the construction industry, there is a little exploration of their resourcing capacity in the post-disaster environment. This paper explores the subcontracting sector challenges in resourcing for the Christchurch reconstruction. Difficulty in matching skills to demand has heightened the importance of training and skills development within the subcontracting companies. The effort at attracting skilled employees to remain engaged was made through incentive programmes; however, employees’ departure is still evident. The inability at satisfying the workforce demand may result in a major interruption to the reconstruction time frame. This paper provides an understanding of the current resourcing challenges for the subcontracting organisations

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