Who are the Workers Behind the UK Construction Sector?

UK construction contributes £90 billion to the UK economy, 6.7% of the total. The Department of Business Innovations and Skills infographic demonstrates why the construction sector is important to the UK economy, although produced in 2013 it is still relevant today. Many people come together to deliver a construction project from accountants, architects and bricklayers to plumbers, surveyors and welders.  In this blog we take a look at who makes up the UK construction sector.

uk construction sector

SOURCE: Department of Business Innovations and Skills, July 2013

The Construction Statistics Annual 2009 from the ONS provides numbers for professionals in UK construction Sector. These figures are summarised in the chart below showing that half of all professionals in UK construction are either Architects or Engineers. Analysis by the Home Builders Federation shows that the house building industry is now supporting around 667,000 jobs.

uk construction sector professionals

More recently Go Construct has created an infographic forecasting employment in the construction sector. They claim construction jobs in the UK for the next 5 years are forecast to grow 5.6%, with London & South West achieving greatest growth.

UK construction sector employment

SOURCE: Go Construct – Construction is Back Infographic

Over 230,000 jobs are expected to be created over the next five years, demand for construction workers is high and skills shortages are emerging. The CPA Skills Report 2015 looks at ways in which the industry can work better with Sector Skills Councils and standard setting bodies.

The government has pledged to deliver 80,000 apprenticeships by 2020 and there is a significant drive by the industry to raise the profile of construction roles. Recently the Scottish Build Apprenticeship and Training Council have reported that the number of Scottish apprentices registered in construction has reached a five year high. And CITB reported that construction apprenticeships across Great Britain are up 12%, and have reached a six year high.

A recent survey by BRE reports 61% of respondents say the industry needs to do more to promote diversity. They go on to say that a clear need was identified to establish clear and appealing career pathways for young entrants to the industry. In addition the survey highlighted an image problem for the construction Sector, with 91% of respondents saying that people outside the industry have a different perspective of the industry than those within it.

The 2015 UK Industry Performance Report shows that the proportion of the workforce under 24 has fallen alongside the proportion of women in construction, overall showing that the industry is having trouble bringing in a younger workforce, to replace those retiring. Currently Women make up just 11% of Britain’s construction workers. Statistics by Ranstead forecast this figure to more than double by 2020.

UK construction sector - women

In summary

  • 2.9m people are employed by the UK Construction sector
  • Construction Professionals make up 24% of those employed in construction, with half of professionals being either engineer or architect
  • The UK Construction Sector is expected to grow 2.5% every year for the next five years and create 232,000 jobs
  • Construction apprenticeships are up 12% across Britain, with government pledging to deliver 80,000 apprenticeships by 2020
  • Currently women make up 11% of the construction workforce by 2020 it is forecast that 26% of the construction workforce will be made up of women