One in four young people (28%) have given construction careers the thumbs up by awarding the sector top marks for attractiveness, according to a new report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
This figure has more than doubled from 13% in 2016, and a significant rise from just 3% in 2015.
Changing Perceptions: the growing appeal of a career in construction, is based on a survey of 1,000 young people, 500 parents and 800 guidance career professionals. This year’s findings show an improvement in the perception of construction careers among all of the groups surveyed. But 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 sector.
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. To add to this, both construction and civil engineering were placed in the top 10 (seventh and eighth, respectively) from a list of 29 potential career paths which young people were asked to consider.
Findings also laid bare some of the challenges that may hinder recruitment into construction. These include:
- Only 45% of advisers declared themselves confident in providing careers advice on construction.
- Careers guidance professionals were more likely to give construction careers advice to those with lower qualifications than graduates and those with at least 4 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 concerns still feature highly for young people – 46% of young people saw this as a concern.
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: “Great efforts have been made recently to promote construction careers, with Go Construct, Open Doors and the Construction Ambassadors clearly making an impact. At the same time major projects and the Government’s apprenticeship drive are helping to raise construction’s profile.
“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.”