Facebook Pixel
Skip to content

19,550 extra construction workers needed in Scotland by 2027

Against a backdrop of economic challenge, rising materials and labour costs, new figures from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) reveal that 19,550 extra workers will be required to meet construction demand in Scotland by 2027.

CITB’s annual Construction Skills Network (CSN) report shows that:

  • 19,550 extra workers (3,910 a year) will be required to meet construction demand between now and 2027 in Scotland

  • Construction output is set to grow for all nations and regions, however, recession is expected in 2023 with slow growth returning in 2024

  • Employment must grow by 1.7% annually to meet increasing demand

  • The major sectors for demand are:
    • infrastructure
    • private housing
    • repair and maintenance

The report expects construction to remain a sector where there is demand for workers despite the current economic uncertainty. As a result, recruitment, training, development and upskilling remain key priorities for the industry for 2023 and beyond.

CITB is responding by investing in apprenticeships, launching a range of targeted initiatives and working collaboratively with industry, to help construction have a skilled, competent, and inclusive workforce.

CITB Scotland Engagement Director, Ian Hughes, said: “Construction is vital in developing and strengthening our regional and national economies, and while the industry will certainly face challenges heading into the new year, our report shows there is also a lot of opportunity available for Scotland.

“Despite the economic challenges, there is still huge demand for more workers in the industry, and it will become even more important to retain our current workforce over the next 18 months. There are a range of projects set to bring a steady stream of work into Scotland this year, including the new River Clyde Bridge, Scottish Water’s £5bn capital investment plans, and £200m towards Scottish Gas Networks mains replacement, to name a few. These opportunities in the infrastructure and industrial sectors will be major drivers for growth in Scotland.

“Supporting the industry in attracting and retaining talent from right across Scotland will be our main priority, with a particular focus on training routes. There’s no denying we have a major task ahead, but I feel inspired by the resilience shown from industry over the last couple of years and look forward to supporting industry in emerging stronger when the recession ends.”

To help directly address these challenges and maximise the opportunities which will arise, CITB has invested almost £50m of Levy to support over 22,000 apprentices to help them join the industry; while grants have helped support over 16,000 learners to complete their qualifications.

CITB also offers funding aimed specifically at smaller companies such as the Skills and Training Fund. Companies with fewer than 250 PAYE employees can access up to £25,000 annually (depending on their size). By the end of quarter two 2022, £3.9m had been invested in companies via this fund.

Further CITB initiatives include the recently launched employer network pilot project, a localised solution for funding and training. Through the support of established and experienced delivery partners, the pilot enables employers to recognise their training priorities and receive guidance on how best to find and fund the training most appropriate to them. In Scotland, the pilot is being led by Scottish Civils Training Group, with an initial focus on supporting employers from Inverness.

CITB’s Scottish Academy for Construction Opportunities (SACO) commission awarded £1.3m to support 1,000 job-starts across the Highlands and Islands. CITB’s Engagement Director for Scotland, Ian Hughes, and other industry stakeholders will attend today (18 January) to support the exciting project. CITB’s funding comes at an extremely important time as the Highlands and Islands experience an influx of tourism, highlighting the need to upgrade infrastructure and creating a demand for additional construction workers.

To inspire young people to pursue a career in construction, CITB has awarded The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce £280,000 to deliver a programme of Construction Work Tasters. 2,800 young people aged 16-25 will be reached across Scotland, giving them a taste of what it’s like to work in construction. Employers, meanwhile, will benefit from a new approach to recruit engaged and talented young people.

Skills Chair at Construction Scotland, Emma Dickson, said: “Construction careers are wide ranging, from bricklayers and joiners to project managers, planners and engineers; it’s a minefield of opportunity, and can be daunting. Construction Tasters is not only about inspiring young people into construction, but importantly helping them to pinpoint the best role for them in construction.”