Research into careers in construction

Alexander K, Plowden Roberts C, Hooley T, Hirsh W, Lanceley L, Mason B, Osborne E, Pollard E  |   | Institute for Employment Studies  | May 2024

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This research was commissioned by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and undertaken by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and BMG Research Limited with support from Professor Tristram Hooley and Dr Wendy Hirsh.

The paper summarises key insights from those inside and outside of the construction industry to understand how careers in construction are perceived and experienced. It builds on the CITB’s existing portfolio of careers and recruitment research activity, drawing and extending on key performance indicators (KPIs) to support monitoring and evaluation of CITB’s careers activities with a broad range of stakeholders. It presents findings and draws out recommendations to better understand, track and support:

  • Attitudes to, attraction to, and awareness of the construction industry.
  • Perceptions about entry and access to the sector.
  • Engagement with construction careers information, advice and guidance.
  • The influence of CITB activities.

The research was undertaken in two stages.

Stage 1 took place between November 2021 and June 2022 (with fieldwork from December 2021 to February 2022). It collected insights from adults (aged 18 and older) in or close to the labour market. This included individuals who work in construction (new entrants and established workers) known as insiders. It also collected views of potential entrants, those who may work or look for work in sectors that traditionally compete with the construction industry when recruiting, known as outsiders, for example engineering, manufacturing and IT and communications. The outsider group also includes individuals from a broader range of sectors where construction is less likely to be considered as a potential career option such as health and social care.

Stage 2 took place between July 2022 and May 2023 (with fieldwork from September to November 2022). It collected feedback from young people (aged 14 to 18), and from parents of young people and career guidance professionals who can act as influencers of young people. This focused on future career plans and aspirations, views and knowledge of the construction industry (compared with other sectors and careers), and engagement with construction focused careers materials.

Across the two stages of the research 3,518 people were consulted through online surveys and 40 construction workers were interviewed.