Industry to see “growth in most sectors” over next five years

Ian Hughes

The Scottish construction industry will experience growth in most sectors over the next five years, according to the latest forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

The Construction Skills Network (CSN) report states that all sectors apart from infrastructure and industrial will experience growth and 12,000 new construction workers will be required to meet demand.

The housing sector is expected to see growth in both public and private housing with 1.1% and 2.0% increases respectively, while repair and maintenance of existing buildings is expected to grow an average of 1.1% year on year.

However, overall construction output is due to decrease by 0.4% each year until 2021, which is attributed “almost entirely” to a drop in infrastructure activity, following the completion of major projects including the Queensferry Crossing.

An annual drop in overall employment of 0.8% is expected as a result of this decrease in output.

Infrastructure accounted for 29% of output in Scotland in 2015, against 15% of the UK as a whole and, if removed from the Scottish forecast, overall output would average yearly growth of 1%.

Ian Hughes, strategic partnerships director at CITB Scotland, commented, “Scottish construction has had an incredible few years, with infrastructure operating at record levels. The tapering off of output in this sector leaves the forecast for Scotland flat, but the picture for individual subsectors is brighter, with most due to experience growth.

“With nearly 12,000 new workers needed over the next few years, there remain excellent, rewarding career opportunities in construction. We want to support firms in Scotland to take on apprentices, and upskill their workforce, while encouraging young people to join the industry to help construction grow in years to come.”

Ian added, “While we have factored Brexit into this forecast, there remain many unknowns to life after leaving the EU. We will be working with our industry to understand what it means for our migrant workforce and what we must do to attract and grow more of our own.”