Big misconceptions of construction deterring new workers, survey finds

Credit: AdobeStock/Monkey Business
Credit: AdobeStock/Monkey Business

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) The Real Face of Construction survey has found that 57% of respondents perceived average annual earnings in construction to be lower than the true figure of £36,000 – which is actually £3,000 above the average annual salary across all sectors.

The survey also explains that while earnings across all sectors rose by 15% between 2012 and 2022, the rise for full-time construction workers was 24%.

“Overly physical” and “dangerous” were among the top three answers respondents selected when asked to describe construction jobs despite more positions being office- or site-based.

Commenting on the findings, Caroline Gumble, chief executive of CIOB, said: “Our survey shows there are big misconceptions around earning potential, job prospects and working conditions.

“This is something the sector needs to work together to address if we’re to bridge the existing worker shortfall that will over time become bigger if nothing is done.”

This survey comes out after a report from brokers Hank Zarihs Associates finds that nearly a quarter of a million extra people are needed in construction by 2027.

Parents don’t encourage their children to go into construction

The study from CIOB also showed that just 7% of respondents said they would recommend construction as a career to their children or other young people.

Construction is the fourth largest employer in the UK outside of the public sector with 2.1 million working in the industry and accounting for 6% of gross value added to the economy.

Londoners are most likely to recommend construction careers (38%) while those in Wales (20%) are least likely.

Meanwhile, the southeast has the biggest number of construction workers (381,000) while the east of England has the largest percentage of its total workforce engaged in the sector at 7.9%.

Caroline added: “Without construction workers, including those in IT, planning, administration and management, as well as the frontline trades, there can be no new homes or other infrastructure and our economy will grind to a halt.

“We want to see construction better represented in schemes to promote STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – careers and vocational qualifications, not just in construction but more widely, given equal esteem with university degrees.

“Construction must be promoted as a sector in which people can make a positive difference, drive sustainability, improve their communities and leave a real legacy.”

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