The Decline in Building Contractors – Why there is a shortage in the Construction Sector UK

The construction sector is a major contributor to the UK economy. According to the Office of National Statistics, the construction industry contributed £103bn to the UK economy in 2014. Approximately 10% of UK employees work in the construction industry.

However, an ageing workforce combined with competitive salaries from other fields has seen a decline in the number of skilled workers in the construction sector. This has occurred hand in hand with certain economic and political developments that have impacted on the industry.

It is reported that about one fifth of all vacancies in the wider construction sector are hard to fill because employers cannot recruit staff with the right skills, qualifications or experience (www.designingbuildings.co.uk). Sadly, the demand is forecast to rise even further.  

Construction sector worker and site manager
Anwyls Hafod y Gest, Portmadog,. Site Manager Huw Hughes on site with the piling rig in action.

The Declining Workforce in the Construction Industry

In October last year (2016), The Guardian reported that the construction sector faces an ‘inexorable decline’ unless radical steps are taken to support the industry. 

Farmer (a 25 year industry expert) described the construction sector workforce as a ‘ticking-time-bomb’ which could decline by as much as 25% within a decade.

Political and Economic Impacts on the Construction Sector 

Additionally, the construction workforce has been hit twice by UK recessions in 2008 and again in 2012. The downturn in the property market meant that less developers were buying properties to do up and sell on. They could not turn a large profit as quickly and easily as they could in the 1980’s.

The ILO calculates that at least 5 million construction workers lost their jobs during 2008.

The EU referendum of summer 2016 has been viewed as both a help and a hinderance. The decline of the value of the pound following the referendum meant an increase in export activity. However, it also could potentially decrease the EU work force in the UK, crippling the construction industry even further.

construction sector workers

How to Kick Start the Construction Sector Workforce

The construction sector can be kick started by the development and construction of new and affordable housing and rental accommodation across the nation. Money also needs to be invested in training a new younger workforce as the bulk of the construction workforce plunges into retirement.

Reasons to enter a Career in the Construction Sector

  • Construction workers are currently in high demand, so plenty of jobs are available.
  • Opportunities for specialism and project management.
  • Working across the country with the extended possibility of travelling Abroad for International work opportunities.
  • Work with a diverse range of skilled people such as architects, accounts, mechanical and electrical specialists, councils and planners and a variety of tradesmen/women.
  • Options to work either outdoors on-site or in an office environment.
  • Make an impact on the world through eco-developments and delivery of community enhancing projects.Construction sector workers at Anwyl

How to Get into a Construction Career

School leavers and graduates are invited to enter the construction industry, as are those looking for a career change. Many colleges offer construction based courses. A popular route is then to train on the job through a traineeship or apprenticeship. For help and advise on a career in construction, visit www.goconstruct.org.

Careers at Anwyl Construction

At Anwyl Construction, we are dedicated to Thoughtful Building and investing in our people. We work with every member of our team to achieve each stage of their personal learning and development plan, ultimately enabling them to be the best they can be. If you are interested in a career with Anwyl Construction, please visit our page on Anwyl Careers and submit a speculative CV.

You might also be interested in our plans for a £50m eco-friendly department complex in Pall Mall.