The overwhelming majority of construction workers fear that the prospect of manual work is putting young people off a career in the construction industry.
The finding came to light as part of a new Considerate Constructors Survey of more than 800 construction professionals in the UK and Ireland.
Despite the fact that 85% of respondents said they would recommend a construction career to young people, 84% also felt that the ongoing perception of construction as being manual work was the main reason it remains an unpopular career choice.
The survey also found that:
- 77% view the skills shortage as the most pressing issue facing the construction industry
- 72% cite the challenging nature of work as the main benefit of a construction career
- 53% know young people who are, or could be, interested in a construction career.
Asked what the industry can do to attract the next generation:
- 37% mentioned changing perception/promoting benefits
- 26% suggested engaging schools and colleges
- 15% mentioned apprenticeships and training.
In response to the findings, the Considerate Constructors Scheme has launched a campaign called "Spotlight on…the next generation". It aims to raise awareness of the wide range of resources, organisations, case studies, key information and guidance available to help construction to attract the future workforce.
The campaign contains a wide range of practical case studies of what organisations have done to help attract more people in to the industry. These include contributions from organisations such as: Balfour Beatty; Class of Your Own; Engie; Hobson and Porter; Kier; Laing O’Rourke; Mace; McLaughlin & Harvey; and Wates.
In addition, the Scheme has collaborated with CITB’s Go Construct initiative to produce promotional posters for registered sites, companies, suppliers, clients and professional partners to use to help attract potential workers to consider a career in construction.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme added that one of its key mechanisms to help improve perceptions of construction among school children, teachers and parents is through its industry mascots Ivor Goodsite and Honor Goodsite. In 2017, the mascots visited over 22,000 school children.
Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive Edward Hardy said: “The shortage of new entrants in to the workforce is one of the most pressing issues facing the construction industry. With over 400,000 new recruits needed each year to deliver construction projects, we must all take steps to attract the next generation.
“While we do have a great industry, one that is working hard to improve its image – as evidenced by the fact that 85% of those within the industry would recommend a career in construction – we need to do so much more to continually improve our standards in order to drive the perception change much needed to make the industry more attractive.
“The Scheme’s Best Practice Hub is at the epicentre of helping to share best practice across construction. Through the ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ campaign, we are delighted to use our reach and influence across the entire industry to help provide key resources to address this critical issue.”