Nearly quarter of a million construction jobs to be created by 2020, UK

Nearly one-quarter of a million (224,000) construction jobs are expected to be created across the UK over the next five years, says a new report published by the Construction Skills Network.

According to the authors, the construction rebound is being driven by investment in the housing, infrastructure and leisure sectors.

Several exciting projects are listed in the report, including the £850 million Tidal Lagoon Power Plant in Wales, AstraZeneca’s £330 million biomedical campus in Cambridge, the £75 million re-development of Liverpool Football Club, and the Queensferry Crossing in Scotland.

The report forecasts that over 44,000 jobs could be created annually for the next five years. Demand will increase for non-construction professionals, IT, technical and other clerical staff (7,700), wood trades and interior fit out workers (4,260), bricklayers (3,070), painters and decorators (3,520), building envelope specialists (2,140), and senior executives & business process managers (2,120).

UK Construction Growth

Source: Construction Skills Network.

The construction industry grew by about 5% in real terms in 2014, the best performance since 2010, making it one of the main engines of GDP growth. Growth is predicted to moderate to just below 3% annually on average from 2015 to 2019, with all sectors expecting to see greater activity.

Construction employment is estimated to have increased by about 2.6% in 2014, the first expansion in six years. Employment in the sector is predicted to continue growing throughout the next five years, at an annual average rate of 1.5%. All 28 CSN (Construction Skills Network) occupational categories are forecast to see some increase.


Wales is expected to experience the fastest growth in construction jobs, with output expanding by about 6% per year over the next five years. The pace in Scotland is forecast to slow from 2% to 1.1% annually.

Looming skills shortage problem

With construction growth returning across the UK and nearly one-quarter of a million jobs expected over the next five years, skills shortages are emerging, the authors point out.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CIBT) says it is working with the government and industry to improve on site environments and promote construction to a wide range of people.

CITB Chief Executive Adrian Belton, said regarding the skills gap:

“We will work with the education and training system to put together a clear picture of skills that it is delivering and how well they match with what industry says it needs.”

“Putting together this information on demand and supply will shine a much brighter light on the size and nature of the skills gap.”

CIBT invites people interested in a career in construction to find out more at CITB Apprenticeships.