182,000 construction jobs are set to be created in the next five years according to new research released today by CITB.

Fuelled by demand for 245,000 new homes across the UK each year, CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecast shows that housing will account for over a third (37%) of the UK’s total annual construction output between now and 2018.

While housing has been boosted by Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, CITB is calling for sustained investment in longer-term infrastructure and industrial projects to secure growth beyond 2015.

Across the whole of the UK, the CSN report paints a welcome picture for an industry that even last year saw 40,000 jobs shed as public non-housing work contracted by 13%.

Over the next five years, performance across the UK construction industry is expected to show:

Output growth will be strongest in the South West (+3.5%), Wales (+3.4%) and East Anglia (+3%) – all set to perform above national average of 2.2%;

The North West (+1.3%), the East Midlands (+1.1%) and the West Midlands (+0.8%) will be slower to feel the effects of the return to growth;

Employment growth will be a mixed bag across the UK, with East Anglia at the top end set to see its construction workforce increase by an average 2.0% a year, while the West Midlands is predicted to experience an average reduction of 0.2%;
Private housing will be the chief driver for construction’s growth and the sub-sector will see a 7.0% rise in output in 2014, followed by 5.0% in 2015. On average, it will grow by 4.6% a year to 2018.

James Wates, Chairman of CITB, said, “Clarity and certainty of future projects is an important element of a sustained recovery. That gives employers the confidence to train and to plan.

“The CSN report shows that the economy is turning the corner and the UK construction industry will benefit from that. But growth needs to be sustainable; underpinned by long-term infrastructure projects and continued investment.

“The Government’s ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme has kick-started demand across the housing market and announcements on nuclear power, rail and roads have the potential to breathe fresh life into infrastructure and industry.

“Alongside this, we’d welcome fresh incentives to encourage house building, and the assurance that major infrastructure projects in the pipeline go ahead as planned.

“Employment in 2018 is predicted to be 196,000 below pre-recession levels, which is why measures must be taken now to ensure growth is sustained over the long-term.”

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HBF), said: “Help to Buy has addressed the biggest short term constraint on supply and as a result, builders are increasing output and looking to recruit in all areas – as outlined in the CSN report.

“All political parties recognise the social and economic benefits of increased housing supply and policies need to promote this, but as the economy recovers, and lending conditions improve generally, we look to the future with confidence.

“To build the homes the country needs we will need a bigger and suitably skilled workforce and we are working with the industry to put this in place.”

According to the data, infrastructure is set to have the second largest impact on growth behind home building, with average annual growth of 3.6%, followed by industrial at 3.0% and public housing at 2.2%.

The knock-on effect is set to be a spike in demand for new workers which, if not met, could lead to skills shortages in some occupations.

Most sought after will be Plant Mechanics, followed by Civil Engineers and Construction Process Managers and planned new nuclear builds will see the UK will experience the biggest increase in demand for Scaffolders for four years.

CITB works with industry to minimise skills gaps by addressing forecasted shortfall, investing in apprenticeships and promoting careers in UK construction.

For more information on the CSN and to read the full report, visit www.citb.co.uk/csn.