Construction recruitment has slowed so dramatically that the industry will only hire an average of 37,000 workers per year between now and 2013.
The latest forecast from Construction Skills (the Sector Skills Council for the industry) under its Construction Skills Network scheme (CSN) is 12% lower than it predicted four months ago, when it said just 42,000 workers would be recruited to the construction industry per year in response to the worsening financial climate.
In February 2008, CSN forecasts claimed that construction needed 88,000 recruits a year.
The latest CSN report also said it would take four years to get construction workforce levels back up to where they were in 2008 – to 2.6m workers.
But despite the dwindling requirement for workers, CSN has called on construction firms to maintain a commitment to staff training so that the industry’s workforce can be preserved throughout the recession.
Mark Farrar, chief executive of Construction Skills, said: “We expect an incremental recovery culminating in a growth rate of 3% by 2013, largely due to public sector spending and potential market recovery from 2011.
“The importance of firms ensuring that their employees are well trained and capable of delivering high-quality work – both now and when the industry returns to growth – should not diminish.”
In January, the Federation of Master Builders warned that 90,000 jobs could be axed across the construction industry in the first half of 2009.