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UK construction industry facing skills ‘time bomb’

UK construction industry facing skills ‘time bomb’

27 September 2013 Email this article

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has issued a stark warning to the UK construction sector – that it faces a skills ‘time bomb’ if it fails to recruit new workers to replace more than 400,000 people set to retire in the next 5-10 years.

It cites labour market research, published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which shows that across the UK:

  • 19% (equivalent to 406,000 people) of the UK construction workers aged 55+ are set to retire in the next 5-10 years
  • 24% (equivalent to 518,000 people) of UK construction workers aged 45–54 are set to retire in the next 10-20 years
  • 37% of the UK construction workforce is self-employed and 23% (equivalent to 182,800 people) of those are set to retire from the industry in the next 5-10 years

Interim Chief Executive of CITB, William Burton, said: “Almost one in five workers is set to retire from the construction industry over the next 5-10 years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry – and investing in the training to up-skill our existing workforce  –  is no longer an option.

"The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990’s, we urge employers to act now.” 

The data also shows that UK construction has a higher demographic age profile than other UK industries – 19% of the construction workforce are expected to retire over the next 5-10 years compared with 17% across the whole of the UK workforce.