The Construction Industry Needs to Change by 2027  

27 April 2023

A loss of interest in construction from young people could result in the industry being short staffed by 250,000 people!


Recent predictions show, with the ever-growing population, projects, and work, we would need an extra 250,000 people in the construction industry by 2027 to meet the growing demands. The Chartered institute of Building (CIOB) have investigated the issue, to try and see why and how the problem started and what could potentially solve it.

The Real Face of Construction

The CIOB ran a recent survey titled “The Real Face of Construction”, the idea was to find out what opinions people had about construction. The survey has helped reveal a lot of the issues we are currently facing, as it shows that a lot of the average perceptions are predominantly wrong or negative.

For example, the survey showed 57 per cent of respondents perceived average annual earnings to be lower than the true figure of £36,000.

This is a major issue, as it reveals that people are ultimately avoiding a career in construction as they believe it will not offer the ability to achieve a comfortable wage as they fundamentally see it as a lower income career.

CIOB chief executive Caroline Gumble said: “Our survey shows there are big misconceptions around earning potential, job prospects and working conditions.”

In fact, construction is £3,000 above the average annual salary across all sectors at £33,000.

The survey shows while earnings across all sectors rose by 15 per cent between 2012 and 2022, the rise for full-time construction workers was 24 per cent.

“Overly physical” and “dangerous” were among the top three answers respondents selected when asked to describe construction jobs despite more positions being office or site based.

Ms Gumble added: “This is something the sector needs to work together to address if we’re to bridge the existing worker shortfall that will over time become bigger if nothing is done.”

We Need to Encourage the Youth of Today

The survey also revealed that a lot of people don’t see the industry as a viable career and would therefore avoid recommending it to their children. This could be because, traditionally, we associate it will be working class traditions and sadly they are often perceived to be under skilled and underpaid. Which is wrong.

Learning a trade gives job security, as we will always need plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, etc. these are fundamental roles in society and as a result, are nicely paid as well.

Londoners are most likely to recommend construction careers, 38 per cent, while those in Wales, 20 per cent, are least likely.

“Without construction workers, including those in IT, planning, administration and management, as well as the frontline trades, there can be no new homes or other infrastructure and our economy will grind to a halt,” said Ms Gumble.

Construction is the fourth largest employer in the UK outside of the public sector with 2.1m working in the industry and accounting for six per cent of gross value added to the economy.

The Southeast has the biggest number of construction workers, 381,000, while the east of England has the largest percentage of its total workforce engaged in the sector at 7.9 per cent.

“We want to see construction better represented in schemes to promote STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – careers and vocational qualifications, not just in construction but more widely, given equal esteem with university degrees.

“Construction must be promoted as a sector in which people can make a positive difference, drive sustainability, improve their communities and leave a real legacy.”