New research suggests ‘cultural shift’ around the way young adults view construction careers


MORE than half of young UK adults polled in a recent study revealed they now consider construction as an ‘attractive’ profession with plenty of prospects.

Construction data platform NBS quizzed 2,000 18–29-year-olds across the UK regarding construction as a potential vocation.

56% said they consider it an attractive profession, indicating a ‘distinct cultural shift’ in attitudes amongst younger generations. NBS said this is, in part, helped by a growing number of digital opportunities and ‘extensive’ media attention around the sector’s use of technology.

Russell Haworth, CEO of NBS, said, “It’s clear that perceptions around construction are changing. Young people now realise it’s not the dull, dangerous, and dirty job as mislabelled for years by educators and career advisors.

“It’s great to see such an uptick in interest following some very lean years recruitment-wise. The challenge for the sector now is to jump on this opportunity, we must not miss it as has previously been the case.”

NBS added that the survey included diversity-related questions and found ‘marked improvement’ in a sector which has had a reputation for being male-dominated. 57% of females polled stated that they consider construction to be a generally ‘diverse’ industry. Now over a fifth of women are ‘very interested’ in construction as a career, NBS revealed. However, a similar number are being actively dissuaded by peers and family to take a job in the industry, showing that whilst personal attitudes are changing, sector ‘misconceptions’ persist.

Mirudhula Ponraj (26), a technical trainee assistant at Bellway Homes, said, “It’s interesting to hear that more women are interested in construction. Great strides are being made in terms of inclusion, but we know more work still needs to be done for the sector to represent 21st century Britain. With schemes such as Women into Construction, I’m optimistic that we’ll see more change in the next ten years.

“There’s a misconception that construction is all about muddy boots, today’s industry is so much more. I studied Building Information Modelling (BIM) at uni. The fifth of women mentioned in NBS’ study looking to enter the industry might be surprised to learn that roles can be incredibly diverse. The next generation now have the opportunity to work with technical programmes and computer systems.”

‘Engineer’ ranked number two when it came to the list of most sought-after jobs. This was second only to ‘Healthcare Professional’ in popularity, ranking higher than ‘Legal Professional’ ‘Teacher’, ‘Designer’ and ‘Social Media Influencer’.

8% of respondents were specifically interested in an architectural career.

Over a third said they were interested in construction because they see it as an industry ‘going through a massive, positive change’.

Salary and earning potential were a main motivator. ‘Good pay’ ranked top of the incentive list, followed by a good home and work balance, a respectful working environment, interesting work, and working with nice people.

Russell Haworth added. “This study has proven to be a litmus test of where the industry is heading within the next 20 years – seeing more women and greater diversity entering the workforce will only continue its upward trajectory. With so much interest from young people our next challenge is turning interest into long and fruitful careers.”