Tarmac’s Dr Bill is thinking about jobs.
If you heed the media, it would appear that there is a boom in construction and with it a need for more construction workers. But what kind of skills will be needed and where are these jobs being created?
Looking around the centres of most of our big cities, the sight of a forest of tower cranes is common, suggesting that the commercial sector is doing well. But what else is going on?
The annual Construction Skills Network report suggests that the commercial construction sector will continue to grow by around 2.5% per year over the next five years, creating more than 230,000 jobs. To quote the report, this ‘should help employers feel more confident about taking on an apprentice or investing in their existing workforce’.
In addition to the commercial sector, heavy investment in infrastructure and significant growth in house building is expected. The types of jobs being created will depend on the balance between these various sectors. In the West Midlands for instance, labourers are likely to experience the most growth, followed by bricklayers, steel erectors and civil engineers.
The picture differs, however, for the wider UK. Wood trades and interior fit-out specialists will see about the same level of growth as labourers, followed by logistics personnel, glaziers and bricklayers.
Having spent more years than I care to remember in the construction industry, there seems to be a common and recurring theme. This is that, whenever the market starts to recover after a dip (of whatever magnitude), there are never enough bricklayers!
On a final and upbeat note and to quote the report again, ‘There has never been a better time to join the industry. There are lots of brilliant opportunities for those who want to come back to construction or begin an exciting career.’
Let’s hope that this happy state of affairs continues for some time to come.