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Construction job market will remain bleak until 2011

A ‘severe’ contraction that will hit thousands of construction jobs means the industry will only see a slow return to growth over the next few years, according to a new report

The Construction Skills Network forecast that 375,000 jobs will be lost between 2008 and 2010, with just 100,000 being recouped by 2014.

Output in the industry fell by 13 per cent last year and a marginal decline is predicted for 2010, with consistent recovery not expected until 2011 following a ‘slow and steady’ return to moderate levels of growth.

The report also predicted that construction output is likely to be strongest in Wales, Scotland, the East of England and East Midlands in the next few years.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of ConstructionSkills, which represents the industry, said: ‘The recession has hit construction extremely hard and the forecast recovery is likely to be long and slow. This situation remains fragile and we are concerned that, given the scale of the public sector deficit, potential funding cuts in the period ahead will further exacerbate the loss of skills before private sector investment has fully recovered.’

Sandra Lilley, manager of the Construction Skills Network, added: ‘The forecast clearly shows what many in the industry already know; that construction has been through a severe recession.

‘Falls in employment tend to lag falls in output, so it is crucial for the industry to focus its efforts on retaining and reskilling workers currently in employment. These workers will be needed to keep businesses competitive as growth returns in 2011. The industry needs to act now to avoid the long term skills shortages which were faced after the 1990s recession.’

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