Nearly three quarters of UK adults would not want to work in construction sector, study finds

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

Research from YouGov has found that 69% of UK adults would not consider a career in the construction industry.

The research of more than 2,000 members of the public taken on behalf of Deconstruction, an organisation set up to find ways to improve the image of the sector, reported that 77% of UK full-time students between the ages of 18-24, state they would not consider a career in the construction industry.

Some key findings from the research:

  • 25% perceived construction to be unsafe.
  • 52% perceived the sector to be dirty.
  • 24% perceived the jobs to be stressful.
  • 70% perceived the jobs to be strenuous.
  • 43% perceived the construction industry to be one of the least likely industries to require workers educated to a higher level of education when shown alongside other key industries such as healthcare, charity and finance.
  • Only 29% perceived it to be rewarding.

Furthermore, 29% of UK adults would be unlikely to recommend construction as a career path to a young person.

Recent estimates from the CITB see the sector needing 225,000 additional workers to meet UK construction demand by 2027 (45,000 workers per year, down from the 2022 figure of 53,200). This will take the total to 2.67 million workers in construction industry by 2027 if projected growth is met.

However, construction is also an ageing sector so the lack of new entrants is compounded by a lack of retention of talent. The problem shows no signs of slowing, with 94% of bricklayers planning early retirement.

Ryan Jones, founder of Deconstruction, said: “Construction’s dirty secret is its poor reputation, perception and image blocking the desire for people to enter the sector. With construction and the built environment being at the heart of some of the biggest challenges facing the country, from housing supply, actual stock of good homes and fit for purpose buildings, to meeting the climate challenge with Net Zero commitments, it is alarming that only 3% of the general public feels that construction is the most important when presented alongside other sectors such as healthcare.

Be sure to see Ryan Jones appear on a panel discussing the skills gap at the RCI Show on 19th October.

“If we want to encourage new young people to enter the sector, we need to move past the hi-vis and hard hats image that is the prevailing perception of the industry. Within the sector we all know that there is so much more to construction, with digital innovation, new technology, and many examples of high quality engineering and building design improving the environment we live in, but we have to tell that story a new generation, and we have to do it now.”

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