Despite the UK building industry growing each year (it was worth nearly £164 billion in 2017), job seekers still overlook construction as a potential career path. Often, people buy into the preconceived notion that you have to fit into a specific group for a career in construction when in reality it’s a suitable area for people of all ages and genders – according to Statista, there’s over 2.7 million people currently employed in the sector (https://www.statista.com/topics/3797/construction-industry-in-the-uk/). Below we’ve detailed a range of different options you may not have considered before.
- White collar
If you come from a white collar background, you might be excited to hear that the amount of white collar jobs in the UK construction market is on track for massive growth – the Construction Industry Training Board predicts that 158,000 UK construction jobs will be created before 2022 (https://www.citb.co.uk/news-events/uk/2018/construction-set-for-growth-despite-brexit-uncertainty/).
The industry is eager to modernise and boost productivity, and instead of blue collar construction workers, it’s white collar professionals who will be most equipped to help with this. White collar construction jobs will include professional and managerial positions (i.e. BIM managers and estimators). However, these professionals will be based away from building sites in office spaces, IT suites and meeting rooms.
- Blue collar
Of course, the skilled labour of blue collar workers will still be very much in demand as well. The skills needed for these types of roles vary by occupation, but they include good balance and strong hand-to-eye coordination. Typical blue collar construction roles are labour intensive, so good physical strength is vital too. Blue collar roles such as labourers, welders, plasterers, ironworkers, roofers, and carpenters are still necessary in construction, and these jobs come with practical hands-on learning and progression.
Refurbishment projects offer various challenges, and they often employ a range of different individuals from start to finish. Early in the process, they require building surveyors who can provide expert advice in regards to the building’s condition and the work that will need to be done to ensure the integrity and safety of the structure – they can then help calculate the costs of these repairs. Moving forward from this stage, refurb projects will need architects who specialise in refurbishment to help envision the future of the building. Finally, refurb projects require a great site team of blue collar workers who can turn these plans into a reality.
Despite retail construction declining between 2007 and 2017 due to the recession (https://www.amaresearch.co.uk/products/retail-construction-2018), this sector does offer high volumes of work. In particular, the discount grocery sector has remained strong, with expansion plans offering great opportunities for contractors.
In a retail setting, construction know-how is applied to creating great spaces for retail-related businesses to flourish. This very specific type of design must take into account the needs and goals of the business itself, as well as those of potential customers. Potential jobs in this area include architects, structural engineers, logistics managers, site technicians, and quality assurance managers, among others.
Dominated by the private sector, the leisure construction industry has experienced better construction output conditions than many other sectors in the last five years (https://www.amaresearch.co.uk/products/construction-hotel-leisure-2018). Investment has mainly focused on budget hotels, health and fitness resorts, and pubs and restaurants. Current forecasts, however, indicate good overall growth for the leisure sector as we look towards 2022.
Construction jobs within the leisure market are particularly good for those who are looking to travel to new and interesting places. Of course, not every site will be in an exotic location, but leisure projects are often being planned and built in areas that people enjoy visiting. If you yourself have a background in the leisure or hospitality sector, your knowledge of what makes a great environment for downtime will be invaluable. Though leisure is about enjoyment it’s also vital that these projects create spaces that are functional. Roles in this area could include project managers, site surveyors, designers and architects, as well as blue collar roles such as painters, decorators, and electricians.
The commercial building sector experienced a resurgence earlier this year (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/02/construction-sector-hints-recovery-commercial-building-picks/), with a greater focus on constructing offices, industrial property, factories, and institutional buildings. These projects can vary vastly in scale and requirements but are often larger projects like warehouses or expansive office blocks. They need very different kinds of structural, plumbing and electrical work compared to other large-scale projects and are built with functionality as the priority. In this sector, you’ll have the chance to work with lots of companies who are willing to put in the extra money to design and build something that really meets the demands of their growing company.
We hope that after reading some of these routes you can take you might be more open minded to pursuing a career in the construction industry. We assure you there are few things more rewarding than seeing a great project you’ve worked on come to fruition. No matter your age, experience or gender, you’ll find a niche within construction that you can really excel in. Our website has a range of construction positions that you can apply for right now. Why not make your first step into this exciting field today?