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CITB lowers five-year output growth forecast

The CITB has lowered its five-year forecast for average annual output growth from 1.7 per cent to 1.3 per cent in its latest Construction Skills Network report.

The training board’s director of policy Steve Radley said the report offered “restrained optimism”, despite the annual output forecast falling 0.4 percentage points compared with the previous year’s figure.

He suggested growth would be more “balanced” and “sustainable” this year than in 2017, when activity was largely reliant on infrastructure.

Mr Radley said the CITB was expecting the housing sector to make a greater contribution to growth in 2018.

Infrastructure is still expected to remain the strongest-performing sector with annual growth of 3.1 per cent, while private housing output is forecast to average 2.2 per cent and public housing 2.8 per cent. 

Construction will need to recruit an extra 158,000 workers over the next five years to meet the projected demand, the data found.

The report expects the construction workforce to grow to 2.77m by 2022, just 3 per cent below its 2008 peak.

The occupation requiring the largest increase in absolute terms will be ‘non-construction, professional technical, IT and other office-based staff’, the research suggested, with an annual recruitment requirement of 3,810.

This was followed by wood trades and interior fit-out workers (3,070 needed a year), construction process managers (2,770), and labourers (1,870).

Broken down by region, the area with the highest recruitment requirement is forecast to be the North-west, with 5,470 new workers needed annually between 2018 and 2022.

This is followed by the East of England (4,540), the South-west (4,480) and the West Midlands (3,390).

Wales is set to record the sharpest annual output growth at 4.5 per cent, ahead of the South-west and North-west (both 2 per cent) and the West Midlands (1.8 per cent).

The CITB collaborated with data firm Experian to produce its regular analysis of the sector.

Last month, the Federation of Master Builders’ (FMB) quarterly assessment found that recruitment for certain specialist trades was the toughest it’s been for 10 years.

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