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Construction and the Built Environment

Future Trends


  • General construction workers will increasingly need to offer a range of skills - as the sector moves towards the wider use of factory-built (prefabricated) components.  This move means that new builds will be quicker but will require on-site workers who have a range of skills rather than specialist skills at a high level. It will also mean less growth in some of the traditional skilled construction trades.

  • However, there will also be a big replacement demand as many skilled craft workers are nearing retirement age.

  • Sustainability and environmental issues (especially finding reliable sources of renewable power) will continue to have a major impact on the industry - this could lead to new ways of working and a growing demand for specialists, such as wind farm specialists

  • Cuts in the social housing budget (around 50% of what it was a few years ago) are going to be problem for some companies but overseas investment and commercial builds in large cities have protected others. 

  • In spite of orders being down and some projects being put on hold, companies involved in infrastructure (railways, roads, etc) are also likely to continue to need good staff - infrastructure projects can take many years (such as the 30-year widening of the M25)

  • Recent surveys (by Hays Construction) showed almost all firms have frozen pay and around half had no plans to recruit additional staff. Many companies are also cutting - or looking to cut - working hours:

  • This means that underemployment is likely to continue to be a problem until the economy recovers - the professions (such as architecture) will be affected as much as craft and technician level workers.


Read more about this job sector, including the skills that might be needed in the future, on the National Guidance Research Forum site