Having compiled and evaluated construction industry’s data and studied its patterns, we have tried to project what the future holds for the UK construction industry. In other words, what challenges and opportunities the industry may face and how the workforce will be affected by it.
As it turns out, more tradesmen are leaving (retiring) the industry today than ones replacing (joining as a new recruit) it. Ageing workforce and skill shortage – the harder the BREXIT the more acute is skill shortage – will continue to stem the growth of construction firms in the UK unless and until some special measures are adopted to maintain sufficient numbers of new recruits into the industry. Moreover, chances are that training at all levels in the industry will become mandatory to meet future skills requirements.
Employment generation is unlikely to go down:
There are two factors which might influence generation of jobs negatively: Acute Recession and astounding growth of off-site construction. The thing is both are unlikely to happen and even if they do they won’t be strong enough to cut down on jobs significantly.
Environmental concerns may lead to new activities and skills:
Increased government and cost pressures to reduce waste and water usage may usher some new activities and skills.
Emphasis on Health and Safety to rise:
The present emphasis on Health and safety will continue, or rise even, at all level and scenarios of construction. Additional training will be required to ensure that workforce is up and ready to respond to new and emerging safety threats on sites.
Speed of innovation to increase:
Construction services are not known for rapid innovation but things are likely to change in near future. Rising competition, globalization of technologies, and need for greater integration in the supply chain could play a big role in bringing about this shift.
Rise of “Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”:
We are likely to see greater use of integrated information systems, especially in construction scenarios that are innovative and dynamic. Skilled tradesmen, especially those in supervisory or managerial roles, need a wider skill base in ICT to integrate construction with design, logistics, and manufacturing. The changing nature and scope of some roles will merge few trades while the other will require to upgrade their skill-set to continue the job.
Modern Methods of Construction (MMC):
MMC is the acronym we have adopted for a variety of new and emerging construction methods often having some off-site component. As the adoption of MMC increase, so will the need for specialism in off-site and training in on-site activities. And skills like assembling and installing complex components or equipment would be in demand.
We are going to witness more mechanical handling on-site, frequent and advance usage of computer aided design (CAD) and diminishing demand for certain on-site trades like Bricklayer or Quantity Surveyor. As for those involved in repair and maintenance roles, their jobs are safe from MMC.
In case you are wondering, robots are unlikely to take away your jobs as use of robotics in construction processes are still quite a while away.
Advent of new construction materials:
We can’t rule out the possibility of new materials gaining in popularity and usage. In case it does happen, builders must gain the ability to read, understand and implement the instructions on the packaging. So the content of basic construction training given to builders – both of new-build and those involved in repair and maintenance – needs to change.