As we look ahead to the new year, for many of us, a new career may be at the forefront of our plans. At a time when the cost of living is rapidly rising, a profession that offers good security and long-term prospects is increasingly sought-after.
With skills shortages still a hurdle across the construction industry, a trend which has been an issue for several years now, those who hold the required qualifications to fill these gaps will likely be in high demand throughout next year and beyond, meaning the career path still remains an appealing one in terms of work opportunities.
Despite issues such as rising materials and energy costs, supply chain delays and sizeable backlogs caused by the pandemic, 2022 has brought about many reasons to be optimistic about both the current state of the construction industry, and its prospects heading into 2023.
Infrastructure growth in 2023
The building of new factories and warehouses in the UK is set to be a major driver of construction output next year, with infrastructure expected to drive growth of around 3.8%.
Overall, after 5.2% growth in 2022, infrastructure output is forecast to slow but still rise by 1.6% in 2023 and 2.6% in 2024. This will largely be due to projects already underway such as HS2, Hinkley Point C and Thames Tideway.
Long-term work projects in regulated sectors such as rail, road, water and electricity are all also expected to help drive growth in 2023.
Workforce gaps need to be filled
A combination of COVID work backlogs and labour shortages largely impacted by Brexit has often meant there simply haven’t been enough workers to complete jobs, a trend which will likely be felt across the industry for years to come.
Earlier this year, research revealed that four in five businesses were actively recruiting, with a third of companies saying they were finding it difficult due to a lack of candidates with the required skills.
Meanwhile, a further 72% of businesses said that the UK will need a larger construction workforce to meet the ambitious targets laid out by the UK government in the Levelling Up Agenda, with house building a key focus of the initiative. This echoes predictions shared by the Construction Skills Network, which earlier this year found that an additional 250,000 qualified construction workers will be needed by 2026. This equates to 53,200 workers per year, up from last year's figure of 43,000.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that there are 244,000 fewer workers in the construction industry than three years ago, with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) reporting a similar issue.
One-third of FMB members struggled to recruit carpenters, bricklayers, and general labourers between July and September 2022, suggesting that these trade skill sets could be particularly sought after in 2023.
While it’s impossible to guarantee job security in any profession, construction offers a unique career path where supply currently cannot meet demand for the foreseeable future, meaning those who hold the skills and qualifications that are actively being sought out by these businesses will likely be in a strong position throughout next year and the years to follow.