Growing interest in construction careers – survey

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The popularity of construction as a career choice seems to be growing, according to a new survey, with more than one in four young people giving the sector top marks for attractiveness.

The report, Changing Perceptions: the growing appeal of a career in construction has been produced by the CITB and is based on a survey of 1,000 young people, 500 parents and 800 guidance career professionals.

A total of 28% rated construction between 8 and 10 in terms of attractiveness, more than double 2016’s 13%, and a significant rise from just 3% in 2015.

However, results also show that a limited knowledge of the sector among guidance professionals persists along with a tendency to encourage lesser qualified people into the industry.

Encouraging statistics show that young people’s knowledge of the industry has increased and they have a greater awareness of the breadth of roles in the sector. They are also more likely to see a construction career as well paid and an increasing number agree that the sector offers as many jobs for women as men.

Other findings include some of the challenges that may hinder recruitment into construction. These included:

Only 45% of advisers declared themselves confident in providing advice on construction careers.

Careers guidance professionals were more likely to give construction careers advice to those with lower qualifications than graduates and those with at least four A-levels – a consistent trend since 2014.

Two out of five (41%) school students were told by guidance professionals that a degree would be more beneficial in the long term than other qualification. Among 18-year-olds, more than half (51%) were advised that a degree offered better prospects.

Two thirds (67%) of male respondents said they would consider a construction career compared to only a third (34%) of females.

Safety was also a concern for young people, with 46% raising this as an issue.

The survey found that career guidance professionals would welcome increased engagement with the sector to help them develop their knowledge of construction. The number of guidance professionals working directly with local employers was up for the fourth year in a row rising to 53%.

Steve Radley, director of policy at CITB, said: “This report shows that perceptions of construction careers are improving. With modern methods of construction emerging fast, the time is right for industry to work together to start bringing new people into the sector.

“Our skills needs are changing and our recruitment drive must present construction in a new light. As an industry, we need to take advantage of this growing interest and do more to support careers guidance professionals and schools if we are to further our reach.”