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UK needs 266,000 extra construction workers by 2026 to meet output

Construction site workers dreamstime_m_16809231
The total number of UK construction workers could grow to 2.78m if CSN growth projections are correct (Image: Dreamstime)

The UK needs 266,000 extra construction workers by 2026 – the equivalent of 53,200 a year – to meet construction output.

That’s according to the latest report from the Construction Skills Network (CSN), which adjusted its figures upwards from the requirement of 43,000 workers a year it calculated last year.

All nine English regions, plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will experience growth, the report predicted. That is likely to result in increasing demand for workers.

The areas of the sector most affected by demand are private housing, infrastructure, and repair and maintenance.

If construction meets the growth projected by the CSN report, construction employment will reach a high of nearly 2.78m workers.

‘Backbone of the UK economy’

CITB CEO Tim Balcon said: “Construction is vital in supporting the backbone of the UK economy. These future growth projections are encouraging after the stalling effects of the pandemic. However, this is set against a current backdrop of higher energy costs, material shortages, and associated price inflation that is currently hitting companies across the sector.    

“Recruitment and developing a highly skilled workforce will be by far the construction industry’s biggest challenges over the next five years. However, industry has a lot to offer and needs to use its many strengths to attract and retain top talent in a competitive recruitment landscape.” 

“The largest increases in annual demand will be for occupations such as carpenters/joiners and construction managers, along with a range of technical roles. These include electronics technicians, civil engineering technicians, estimators and valuers, as well as office-based support staff.”

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