As baby boomers gear up for retirement, Kiwi businesses are worried they'll be taking invaluable skill sets with them.
A new report has found three-quarters of companies are deeply concerned about the impact this will have, and leave a gap in industries in about 10 years time.
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The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) chief executive Warwick Quinn told The AM Show it was the number-one issue in the industry.
"If you look at our birth-rate, it's never been lower," he said. "We've got a skills shortage now because we've got a massive construction boom.
"From a construction perspective we've got to be really dynamic about how we change our workforce."
Quinn said getting more women in construction as well as being more productive were two options.
"It's a very blokey industry," he said. "It's one of those areas we have to address.
"We're actually involved in a large research project at the moment which is 'women in trades', and it's attracting them to this sector that we need to do - we need to have a sector to accommodate them."
He said appealing to school students was also key.
"We know they don't think of it very highly," he told The AM Show. "All of the sectors will be competing for fewer and fewer people."