Construction sector needs young recruits

The construction sector needs to act to bring in more younger workers and managers or face an old-age time bomb, a study has warned.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIB) has shown construction managers aged over 60 are the fastest growing demographic age group in the sector.

Michael Brown, CIB deputy chief executive, said many workers had not been encouraged to save enough for their retirement, meaning they were being forced to work longer. But it also meant that, as older workers retire, and if there were fewer experienced workers to replace them, training and supervision – two key areas around maintaining health and safety in an industry notorious for its poor record – could come under pressure.

“There are two trends in particular that should be of concern for the industry. Firstly the total numbers of construction managers above the age of 60 has increased, and the biggest reduction in workers fell in the under 30 group.

“The likely impact is as clear as it is worrying. A great deal of knowledge is about to be lost and fewer professionals are in line to replace it,” he pointed out.

One possible way to tackle the challenge could be to extend retirement age, the institute argued, though this in turn could create its own challenges around health, safety and the maintaining the overall health of workers in a physically demanding industry.

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