SKILLED professionals and tradespeople across the architecture, engineering and construction sectors are in massive demand amid a huge volume of work in detached home building and civil infrastructure, new data has found.

Released by the National Skills Commission, the March monthly job vacancy data shows a worker shortage of unprecedented proportions across many design and construction roles.

The number of vacancies for tradespeople, machinery and equipment operators and other manual labourers sit at levels not seen since the data began in 2006.

Meanwhile, unfilled vacancies across construction management and many types of engineering are at their highest levels since the mining boom.

Simon Bristow, senior regional director at leading recruitment firm Hays, says there is a candidate shortage of a magnitude which has not been seen before.

“There are shortages across all areas of trades and labour as well as many areas of skilled engineering,” he said.

Mr Bristow says factors driving the shortage include lower-than-normal levels of overseas and interstate migration, a competitive job market for school leavers and graduates and demand pressures arising out of high levels of activity on public infrastructure projects and residential construction.

Release of the latest skills data follows the 2022-23 federal Budget which splashed billions of dollars on small businesses and apprentices. New apprentices and their employers will be eligible for hefty payments, particularly for those in “priority” industries.

This is back-dropped by widespread complaints of a skills shortage constraining the ability of SMEs to hire and retain qualified talent. The Budget shows employers will be eligible to claim up to $4500 in the first year of the system.

The Coalition plan hinges on the creation of the new Australian Apprentices Incentive System, a development the Coalition says will update and refine the 30 or so payments already available to employers and apprentices.

To sweeten the deal for workers, the Coalition says it will furnish priority apprentices with $5000 in training support payments, split into half-yearly instalments over two years.