Report predicts 158,000 construction jobs to be created over the next five years

A new forecast has estimated that 158,000 jobs will be created over the next five years despite recent gloom surrounding the demise of Carillion and pessimistic predictions connected to Brexit.

According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the industry body is predicting average industry growth of 1.3% over the next five years, with its Construction Skills Network (CSN) report having private housing expanding by 2.2% and public housing by 2.8%. 

With the exception of infrastructure, commercial and public non-housing, all other sectors are expected to experience growth, as the CITB says thousands more new construction workers will be needed to meet demand. Despite making good reading for the industry, the numbers announced today are significantly down on its 2017 forecasts, which predicted 1.7% growth over the five-year period and 179,000 jobs to be created. With the overall growth predicted by the CITB, construction industry employment would reach 2.77 million in 2022 - 3% below the 2008 peak.

CITB policy director Steve Radley said: “Despite all the gloom around Carillion and uncertainty from Brexit, our report’s message is that construction will continue to grow and create more jobs. Though growth is slightly down on 2017, it’s looking more balanced with housing and infrastructure both expanding significantly. And the range of job opportunities is growing. While we need to bring in lots of people in the trades, the fastest growth will be for professionals at 7.8% and for managers and supervisors at 5.6%.”

Fears on the implications Brexit may have on the industry have continued to grow since the UK decided to leave back in 2016. The Association for Consultancy and Engineering in November found that nearly a quarter of large consultancy and engineering firms would consider moving jobs out of the UK if Brexit makes it more difficult to move staff around Europe. Despite the optimistic outlook, the CITB does concede that Brexit uncertainty is meaning that the commercial sector is not predicted to grow at all over the next five years. 

But Radley still claims that investment in skills is key to ensure that recruitment  and training challenges are overcome moving forward. “By 2022, employment will be in touching distance of the heady 2008 peak so we face a massive recruitment and training challenge, which is likely to get harder after Brexit,” he added. “So while we can take some comfort from weathering the recent storms, it’s vital that we make the investment in skills today that will shape our own destiny for tomorrow.”

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