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CITB warns of retirement 'time bomb'

CITB has warned of a skills ‘time bomb’ in construction with more than 400,000 people set to retire in the next 10 years.

The labour market research, published by the Office for National Statistics, shows that across the UK:

  • 19 per cent (equivalent to 406,000 people) of UK construction workers aged 55+ are set to retire in the next 5 to 10 years;
     
  • 24 per cent (equivalent to 518,000 people) of UK construction workers aged 45 to 54 are set to retire in the next 10 to 20 years;
     
  • 37 per cent of the UK construction workforce is self-employed and 23 per cent (equivalent to 182,800 people) of those are set to retire from the industry in the next 5 to 10 years;
     
  • The East Midlands and the South-west will be particularly hit, with 22 per cent of construction workers (equivalent to 31,900 people in the East Midlands and 39,500 people in the South-west) set to leave the industry over the next 5 to 10 years;
     
  • Greater London, with the largest number of construction workers in the UK (318,000 people), is set to perform better than the rest of the UK in terms of the average proportion of workers leaving the sector: 12 per cent (equivalent to 38,500 workers) over the next 5 to 10 years; 
     
  • The number of people retiring in Scotland and Wales in the next 5 to 10 years is set to be similar to the total number of people retiring in the North-east and South-west combined (approximately 56,000 people).

CITB interim chief executive William Burton said: “Almost one in five workers is set to retire from the construction industry over the next 5 to 10 years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry – and investing in the training to upskill our existing workforce – is no longer an option.

“The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now.” 

While 17 per cent of the entire UK workforce is set to retire in the next decade, that figure rises to 19 per cent of the construction workforce.

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