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Automation could wipe out 600,000 construction jobs by 2040

Automation could wipe out 600,000 construction jobs by 2040

31 October 2017 Email this article

Consultancy and construction firm Mace has conducted research which suggests that some 600,000 jobs in construction could be wiped out by 2040 due to automation. It’s not all bad news though. The firm also estimates that as a result of productivity gains, an added £25bn will be added to the UK economy.

Discussing the findings, Mace chief executive, Mark Reynolds commented: “Everyone now acknowledges the current skills shortages need to be addressed."

"The industry, our training bodies and government need to work together to take full advantage of everything that industry 4.0 can offer.”

Mace’s report proposes three key recommendations that will help to ensure that the necessary number of workers can be re-trained. These are:

1. Accelerate the use of new technology in training
By mandating that the latest 3D printing technologies and augmented and virtual reality tools are introduced into industry training programmes and into ‘construction clubs’ in schools, the sector can better meet its future skills challenges will also ensuring that courses are attractive to potential students and recruits.

2. Inform lifelong learning decisions
At the moment data is sparse on what skills we will need in the future. By commissioning large-scale sector-wide research and working with Government bodies like the ONS and CITB, the construction industry will be able to ensure that its skills profile is changing to meet actual need.

3. Revolutionise our traditional education programmes
Current apprenticeship and training reforms will not go far enough to prepare the workforce for Industry 4.0. We need to upend the curriculum on offer now to reflect the modern methods of construction and off-site assembly that will be needed in the future.