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CITB Report Summary – Five Year Outlook 2023 – 2027

Posted 2 weeks ago

CITB Report Summary – Five Year Outlook 2023 – 2027

‘Demand for construction workers in the UK is still high despite economic uncertainty’ says Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, in the Construction Skills Network Most recent report.

Growth areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Private housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Repair and Maintenance.

An impressive 225k jobs will be required to meet construction demands over the five years, according to CITB’s forecasts.

To date, the Construction industry has exceeded expectations, with an annual growth of around 4% in 2022.

From 2024 to 2027, the UK’s construction output will see the return of growth, particularly in industrial, infrastructure and commercial sectors which will outperform others, like housing.

Recruitment continues to challenge the industry, with vacancies likely to rise and remain high in coming years, perpetuating the unrelenting demand for skilled professionals. Bearing this industry-wide shortcoming in mind, the role of recruitment, development and training is sure to take precedence, to address the deficiency.

Equally so, it is vital that the Construction industry retains its workers. CITB recognises this priority and is taking steps to offset the anticipated challenge of a workforce exodus. For example, CITB has invested close to £50m in apprenticeships and funded over 1,600 businesses to provide training courses for 269,000 training courses.

In 2021, CITB founded training hubs across England and Wales in response to concerns that new entrants required greater hands-on training. Scotland has not been overlooked either, with CITB’s Scottish Academy for Construction Opportunities (SACO) granting a £1.3m investment to address a skills gap throughout the Highlands and Islands. Since just over £1.8m has been given to England’s Construction Opportunities (ECO) commission, Scotland has fared well.

To date, throughout the financial year 2022/2023, CITB have trained 4,400 people through their National Construction College (NCC) sites, demonstrating a promising 25% improvement on the previous year.

£2.67m is expected to represent the construction workforce’s value, if the industry’s projected growth is realized.

OECD forecasts from November 2022 show that the UK’s economy will suffer greater than any other G7 nation in 2023 from the global energy crisis, however the impacts are expected to be relatively short-lived, with growth returning in 2024. This underlines how vital growth and output from the Construction sector will be in supporting and sustaining the UK economy.

Five regions of prominent growth – all exceeding annual average growth rates (AAG) from 2023 and 2027 – include:

  • Greater London (accounting for a fifth of the UK’s total construction output)
  • East of England
  • East Midlands
  • South East
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (joint highest AAG rate of 2.2% with East of England)

Northern Ireland is predicted to perform just below the UK’s AAG of 1.5%.

Infrastructure is the key driver in Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England alike. In both regions, major projects like the West Yorkshire mass transit system (with an instant fund of £200m) and the £20bn Sizewell C nuclear power station will heavily influence AAG. Instead, the primary growth driver in London is predicted to be the housing market, fueled by projects like the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) which has procured £3.4bn to deliver nearly 30,000 homes in the region.

Workforce – the dip witnessed between 2020 and 2021 improved in 2022 to give a construction workforce of approximately 2.66m. Essentially, the outlook for 2023-2027 in terms of workforce growth is expected to see little change, with a slight rise of 2.67m by 2027.

Three occupations predicted to see a growth exceeding 1% are:

  • Architects (1.9%)
  • Civil Engineers (1.2%)
  • Plant Operators (1.1%)

These projections show higher demand for skilled, technical, and professional occupations.

As skills shortages persist, recruitment is vital to manage challenges across most industrial sectors. For instance, changes to EU migration policy, shortage of labour, and increased employee demands like flexible working can all affect an already competitive labour market.

Post-covid training trends show that the construction industry has greater work to do than other industries.

In response to this, CITB is hoping to implement various actions to improve recruitment for businesses and to increase the standards of training received. These are detailed in CITB’s Business Plan, which you can access here: https://www.citb.co.uk/about-citb/what-we-do/plans-and-performance/

The report published this month includes a comprehensive breakdown by region, and is well worth a read: https://www.citb.co.uk/about-citb/construction-industry-research-reports/construction-skills-network-csn/

Reference: Tim Balcon, Construction Skills Network “UK 2023-2027” published Jan 2023.

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