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Britain Builds Back – Welsh construction to need over 9,000 new workers by 2025 to meet demand

Construction has bounced back quicker than expected from the Covid-19 pandemic, and most of the industry will reach 2019 levels of output in 2023.

By 2025, Welsh construction will need to recruit an additional 9,250 new workers just to meet demand. That is the forecast of the Construction Skills Network (CSN) 2021-25, published by CITB today.

The amount of construction work in Wales is set to grow by 4.1% annually, on average, until the end of 2025, slightly below the UK average of 4.4%, with private housing being the fastest growth area. While the workforce of 114,400 is set to increase by 0.7% over the next few years, an additional 9,250 workers will be needed to meet demand.

Key trades needed in Wales include an extra 500 bricklayers and an additional 350 electricians per year to meet demand.

CITB Wales’ Partnerships Director Mark Bodger said:

“Welsh construction is playing a leading role in supporting Britain’s post-Covid economic recovery. It is great to see our industry bouncing back so strongly, and we will need to adopt new approaches to meet these growing skills needs and deliver these quickly.

“We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood. We’ll be working closely with our partners in industry, in learning, and in Welsh Government to ensure our industry can rise to the challenge of meeting these ambitious targets.”

In Wales, major projects driving growth over the next few years include the £750 million South Wales Metro and the £336 million investment from Welsh Water this year, part of the organisation’s £2.3 billion investment being made by 2025.

Welsh construction will need an extra 1,850 workers per year to fulfil the amount of work forecast.

Gareth Wyn Evans, Construction Wales Innovation Centre manager, added:

“CWIC’s pan-Wales Skills Strategy is underpinned by a large amount of research and extensive industry engagement relating to the continued drive for a highly skilled construction talent pipeline across Wales.”

“Welsh industry, much like other regions of the UK, has a significant challenge in working towards attracting the volume of workers. This is especially prevalent within emerging skills and developing roles that are required to achieve modernisation and decarbonisation of the sector. Our work shows how we and our partners are uniquely placed to drive forward the industry, tackle the challenge head-on whilst continuing to future-proof construction skills.”

However, it is not all good news - the commercial sector faces significant near-term risks while the public sectors could be impacted by tighter government finances. 

The Construction Skills Network national and regional data can be found here.

Notes to editors

Remote interview opportunities are available upon request.

CITB works with industry and government to accurately capture the sector’s needs, fund training, improve standards and ensure the industry has the workforce it needs. It is paid for by a levy on the construction industry itself. CITB is an arm’s-length body of the Department for Education.

About the Construction Skills Network

The Construction Skills Network (CSN) provides market intelligence and insight for the UK construction industry. The data it produces highlights trends and how the industry will change year-on-year, allowing governments and businesses to understand the current climate and plan ahead for the future.

Key stats from Construction Skills Network 

  • The UK average recruitment requirement (ARR) is 1.6%relative to 2020 workforce levels
  • There will be an extra 216,800 construction jobs to fill in the UK by 2025
  • The UK construction workforce is due to grow by 1% per year
  • Private housing work is forecast to grow by £12.1 billion between the end of 2020 and 2025

Number of new recruits needed annually in Wales by trade:

  • Process managers 100
  • Woodworkers and interior fitters 250
  • Bricklayers 500
  • Building envelope specialists 150
  • Steel erectors 50
  • Labourers 100
  • Electricians 350
  • Logisticians 50
  • Civil engineers 100
  • Architects 100
  • Civil engineering operatives 100

Number of new recruits required annually 2021-2025

  • South West 6,400
  • Scotland 5,250
  • West Midlands 5,000
  • North West 4,700
  • East Midlands 3,800
  • Yorkshire and Humber 3,800
  • Greater London 3,450
  • East England 3,400
  • South East 3,350
  • Wales 1,850
  • North East 1,400
  • Northern Ireland 1,000
  • UK 43,350

Source: CSN, Experian

Annual Average Workforce Growth By Region 2021-2025

  • East Midlands 7%
  • East England 1%
  • Greater London 2%
  • North East -0.1%
  • North West 8%
  • South East 3%
  • South West 7%
  • West Midlands 4%
  • Yorkshire and Humber 1%
  • Northern Ireland 7%
  • Scotland 4%
  • Wales 7%
  • UK 0%

Source: CSN, Experian