New research forecasts UK will need extra 217,000 construction workers by 2025


THE UK construction industry will require 217,000 additional workers by 2025 to keep up with demand, new research has predicted.

The CITB said construction has ‘bounced back quicker than expected’ from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the industry set to reach 2019 levels of output in 2022.

The figure of 217,000 new workers required by 2025 is the forecast of the Construction Skills Network (CSN) 2021-25, published by CITB.

According to the CSN, most regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with Scotland’s workforce expected to rise by 1.4% to keep up with a construction output that is tipped to grow by an annual average rate of 4.1% – driven by infrastructure and private housing works.

Major projects such as HS2 are helping to drive growth across the UK. A growing contribution is expected to come from repair, maintenance and improvement work, as retrofitting existing buildings to meet net zero emissions targets becomes more important.

In terms of annual average recruitment requirement (ARR), CITB revealed the most in demand trades are forecast to be in wood trades & interior fit-out (5,500 per year), other construction professionals and technical staff (5,150), construction managers (3,600) and electrical installation trades and (3,400). There will also be a demand for non-construction, office-based professional, technical and IT support staff (7,850).

However, the commercial sector faces ‘significant near-term risks’ while the public sectors could be impacted by tighter government finances.​ Despite this, the CSN forecasts UK output to grow annually at an average rate of 4.4% across 2021-2025.​

CITB policy director Steve Radley said, “It’s great to see construction coming back so strongly and creating lots of job opportunities. We need to adopt new approaches to meet these growing skills needs and deliver these quickly. We are working closely with government and FE to build better bridges between FE and work and make apprenticeships more flexible. We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood.

“We must also make sure that we invest in the skills that will drive change and meet new and growing needs such as net zero emissions and building safety. We will be announcing plans soon to tackle specific skills and occupations such as leadership and management, digital skills and skills related to energy efficiency.”