According to a comprehensive report published by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), it has been determined that the United Kingdom will face a significant demand for an additional 216,800 construction workers by the year 2025 in order to meet the ever-increasing needs of the industry. One notable observation made in the report is that the construction sector has demonstrated a remarkably swift recovery from the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, surpassing initial expectations. In fact, the report predicts that the industry will reach pre-pandemic levels of output as early as 2022. This resurgence can largely be attributed to major infrastructure projects, such as the renowned High Speed 2 (HS2) initiative, which are poised to stimulate a surge of growth in both housing and infrastructure developments within the country over the course of the next four years.
The Construction Industry Training Board report foresees a significant shift in focus towards repair, maintenance, and improvement work, as there is an escalating urgency to retrofit existing buildings to align with ambitious net zero emissions targets. As the imperative to address climate change intensifies, the construction industry must adapt and prioritise sustainable practices and energy-efficient solutions.
In terms of the annual average recruitment requirement (ARR), the report identifies specific trades that are expected to be in high demand. Notably, wood trades and interior fit-out are projected to require approximately 5,500 new workers per year. Additionally, other construction professionals and technical staff are estimated to require 5,150 new recruits annually, while construction managers and electrical installation trades are expected to necessitate 3,600 and 3,400 new workers per year, respectively. The industry will also see substantial demand for non-construction, office-based professionals, technical staff, and IT support, with an estimated need of 7,850 individuals.
Steve Radley, the policy director of the Construction Industry Training Board, expressed his enthusiasm regarding the remarkable resurgence of the construction sector and the vast array of employment opportunities it presents. Radley emphasises the urgency of adopting innovative approaches to promptly address the growing skills gap in the industry. To this end, collaborative efforts between the Construction Industry Training Board the government, and further education institutions are already underway, with the aim of forging stronger connections between educational pathways and real-world employment opportunities. An emphasis is also being placed on enhancing the flexibility of apprenticeship programs. Substantial investments are being made to support work experience initiatives that facilitate the seamless integration of new talent into the construction industry.
Radley underscores the importance of investing in skills that drive transformative change and align with emerging needs, such as achieving net zero emissions and ensuring building safety. Recognizing these imperatives, the Construction Industry Training Board is on the verge of announcing concrete plans that specifically target vital skills and occupations, including leadership and management, digital skills, and those related to energy efficiency. By addressing these crucial areas, the industry will be better equipped to meet the evolving demands of the future while fostering a more sustainable and resilient built environment.