GOLD Coast sparkies and landscapers are being dubbed the “new rich” as fresh figures show they are among the highest paid in the country.
The average hourly rate for Glitter Strip landscapers is an eye-popping $91, while electricians are pulling in $77, new statistics from tradie work website serviceseeking.com.au reveal.
The average hourly rate for all trades across the city’s booming construction industry — including carpentry, concreting, painting, plastering, plumbing and tiling — is $61.16.
Lawyers, by comparison, earn $37 an hour on average, according to PayScale.
High-earning Coast landscapers are commanding more per hour than traditionally in-demand Western Australia tradies — though WA plumbers and sparkies are still raking in a healthy $87.
“They are the new rich,” Serviceseeking.com.au chief executive Jeremy Levitt said.
“There has never been a better time to be a tradie. The blue collar is now crisp and ironed.”
The statistics show Coast landscapers’ average hourly rate jumped from $70 in the third quarter of the 2015 financial year to $91 for the same period of 2016. It showed a drop from $120 to $68 for concreters but Mr Levitt said the $120 was probably a distortion from a few big jobs.
“If you want to be a rich tradie, move to the Gold Coast, put your gloves on and become a landscaper,” Mr Levitt said.
“$91 an hour is markedly the highest — the only tradies in that rarefied air are plumbers and electricians in WA, which is driven by the mining boom and a tradie skill shortage for five years,” Mr Levitt said.
Gold Coast qualified carpenter and landscape architect Shane Haddely, whose Reserve landscaping and construction employs two carpenters and two skilled labourers, said landscape gardeners wouldn’t be on $90 an hour but landscape architects could charge that.
But he agreed demand for landscapers was higher than ever and there was a shortage of people with those skills, he said, adding he hired carpenters with an interest in landscaping.
Mr Haddely added there was also increasing recognition of landscaping as a profession with an apprentice scheme whereas 15 to 20 years ago that hadn’t been the case.
“I get several calls a day (for jobs). And the new work is premium. It’s Hedges Avenue, it’s Mermaid Beach — it’s not the back of Coomera or Pimpama.”
The statistics are from tradie job quotes on Serviceseeking.com.au with the top and bottom five per cent removed to ensure more reliable data.
Mr Levitt added not only were tradies earning more than many, they were in the workforce earlier: “You can leave school, pick up a trade before others have finished university. You might have five years (work) before other people have even started.”
He tipped a bright future for tradies too, saying most had complex skills in industries with high barriers for entry requiring apprenticeships and licensing. They were also likely to remain in demand whereas roles like web development and graphic design could be outsourced online for cheaper to overseas workers.
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin