Construction Recruitment: Employment Trends and Stats

Posted on 26 July 2023

The UK's construction industry holds significant importance within the economy, injecting billions of pounds into the country's GDP annually. The sector serves as a substantial employer, providing jobs to over two million individuals within the sector.

Throughout 2023 and beyond, construction recruitment, training, development, and upskilling will continue as important and remain major priorities.

In this article, we are going to take a look into construction recruitment, looking at the current employment landscape and what's to come in the future.

Employment Statistics

In December 2022, construction output experienced a decline of 1.7% compared to December 2021, marking its lowest performance since June 2022. Economic uncertainty resulted in delays, cancellations, and reduced work, which significantly impacted private housing output.

Despite the economic recession faced by the UK in 2023, the latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) report suggests that an additional 225,000 construction workers may be required by 2027.

  • Construction recruitment is mainly focused on private housing, infrastructure, repair, and maintenance.

  • Construction recruitment will add 168.5k jobs in 2023, which is 10k more than expected a year ago.

  • According to the CITB, construction employment is projected to reach 2.79 million in 2023, representing a decrease of 2% from its peak in 2008.

The skills gap

Although the UK economy is facing a recession in 2023, an extra 225,000 construction workers may be needed by 2027, according to the latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) report. The report provides insights into the UK construction economy and its future labour needs.

To plug the skills gap employers need to start looking at how they can inspire the younger generation of construction workers and upskill the employees currently in the business.

Providing degree apprenticeships to employees presents a valuable opportunity for retraining and upskilling, offering significant commercial advantages to employers. Nearly half of apprenticeship participants are 25 years or older, and approximately 29,000 individuals aged 45 to 59 are currently engaged in training.

Considering that the average age of a construction worker in the UK is 49, investing in upskilling and retraining could tap into a substantial talent pool of experienced individuals.

Construction Recruitment Opportunities

The construction industry aims to enhance its appeal to various potential recruits, including those who are entering the labour market from school, college, or university, as well as older individuals re-entering the workforce. The industry seeks to attract those already employed in other sectors who may be open to a career change. To achieve this, there is a need for construction recruitment to identify what aspects make the industry attractive and effectively communicate these strengths to encourage more people to consider construction careers.

Understanding the current perception and image of the construction industry is crucial. It is essential to address any misconceptions and concerns that may deter potential candidates. Studying the factors that make other sectors more appealing can provide valuable insights into areas where the construction industry can improve or emphasise to attract talent.

By having this understanding construction recruitment strategies can be developed. These strategies should focus on highlighting the industry's values and outcomes while crafting compelling messages that resonate with specific groups of candidates. By presenting a realistic view of key elements of construction jobs, the industry can effectively engage and attract the right talent to meet its workforce needs.

Forecast for the rest of the year

The UK's construction industry is projected to experience robust growth, with predictions indicating a 4.4% increase, reaching £163,253 million in 2023.

Despite some short-term concerns in specific construction sectors, the outlook for the UK's medium to long-term growth remains positive. It is anticipated to maintain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.9% from 2023 to 2027, with UK construction output expected to reach £190,146.5 million by 2027.

Notable trends emerging in 2023 include a notable shift towards modern construction techniques and a focus on automated, off-site modular structures, moving away from traditional on-site skilled labour.

As of the first quarter of 2023, the UK's construction sector employed approximately 2.1 million people, reflecting significant growth compared to the 1.89 million employed in the first quarter of 1997.

Construction recruitment holds immense significance in sustaining the UK's construction industry, which plays a crucial role in the nation's economy, injecting billions of pounds into the country's GDP annually and providing jobs to over two million individuals within the sector.

Construction recruitment, along with training, development, and upskilling, will remain at the forefront of priorities to address the demand for skilled workers. Despite facing challenges due to economic uncertainty and the skills gap, the industry is actively adapting and seeking solutions to inspire the next generation of construction workers and upskill existing employees. By offering degree apprenticeships and investing in modern construction techniques, employers can attract and retain a talented workforce, fostering growth and innovation within the sector.

With a positive outlook for medium to long-term growth, backed by strategic construction recruitment efforts, the industry is poised to continue making significant contributions to the UK's economy in the years to come.

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