In the first of this five part series in partnership with City & Guilds, which we will be running throughout this week, we will be looking at the Construction industry. The data used in all these pieces uses the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) and Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) systems to classify different industry and occupation types. These systems use 1-4 digit codes to classify industries or occupations, with 1-digit being the “umbrella” industry or occupation — Construction, for example — and 4-digit being the most specific sectors — Joinery installation, for instance. It should also be noted that all the data in these pieces is for England & Wales, rather than for Britain as a whole.
Overview of Construction
So let’s begin with a high-level look at the Construction industry. According to our data, there were 1,197,574 people employed in the industry in England and Wales in 2013, and the average wage was £30,650. Looking back over the last ten years, we can see that the industry has gone through a somewhat turbulent time:
Construction is often one of the hardest hit sectors during a time of recession, and the graph confirms that this has indeed been the case. For the first few years of the 21st century, there was significant growth, with almost 15% more employment in 2008 than in 2003. However, this was then followed by a steep decline as the recession took hold, and although the industry began to recover in 2012, there are still 30,127 fewer people employed in the sector than there were back in 2003 — a fall of 2.5%.
However, whilst the past six years have been pretty bleak for the industry, the trends indicate that better times may lie ahead. According to our data, all other things being equal, the slight rise from 2012-2013 looks set to continue, with the numbers employed in the industry set to surpass the 2003 level in about 2015, and then continuing to make steady increases, reaching 1,272,946 in 2018 — 75,372 more than were employed in 2013.
Construction Industries and Occupations
Construction is of course a pretty broad category. In fact, according to the SIC classification system, there are 22 specific industries within the sector as a whole at the 4-digit level. We can drill down into our data to look at these specific industries, in order to discover where most of the employment within Construction actually is:
Table: Specific Sectors (4-Digit SIC Level) Within the Construction Industry in 2013
|Description||2013 Jobs||2013 Avg. Earnings Per Job|
|Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2014.1|
|Construction of residential and non-residential buildings||282,871||£33,938|
|Plumbing, heat and air-conditioning installation||120,517||£27,600|
|Construction of other civil engineering projects n.e.c.||110,301||£33,676|
|Other specialised construction activities n.e.c.||100,161||£28,817|
|Development of building projects||70,724||£36,485|
|Other building completion and finishing||46,718||£31,063|
|Painting and glazing||44,556||£23,197|
|Construction of roads and motorways||39,432||£32,837|
|Other construction installation||36,654||£29,856|
|Floor and wall covering||16,973||£26,893|
|Construction of utility projects for electricity and telecommunications||8,845||£25,868|
|Construction of railways and underground railways||7,915||£29,333|
|Construction of utility projects for fluids||4,582||£32,654|
|Construction of water projects||1,516||£29,622|
|Test drilling and boring||1,137||£22,941|
|Construction of bridges and tunnels||538||£31,045|
As you can see, the largest industry is the Construction of residential or non-residential buildings, which is basically what we would normally term builders — i.e. people who are responsible not just for one area of the construction process, but for the entire construction process. As for the highest salary, this is to be found in the Development of building projects sector, which is basically the bringing together of financial, technical and physical means to realise the building projects.
Having looked at specific Construction industries, we can also run a staffing pattern in order to see which occupations have the most employment. The following table shows the 20 highest occupations that fall within Construction, at the 4-digit SOC level:
Table: Top 20 Highest Employing Occupations within Construction – 2013
|Occupation||Employed in Industry (2013)||% of the Total Jobs in Industry (2013)||Median Hourly Earnings||Education Level|
|Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2014.1|
|Electricians and electrical fitters||87,328||7.3%||£13.38||Level 3|
|Production managers and directors in construction||71,087||5.9%||£17.70||Level 3|
|Plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers||70,308||5.9%||£13.24||Level 3|
|Elementary construction occupations||63,121||5.3%||£9.36||Level 2|
|Carpenters and joiners||56,857||4.7%||£10.88||Level 3|
|Construction and building trades n.e.c.||54,559||4.6%||£12.38||Level 3|
|Other administrative occupations n.e.c.||34,490||2.9%||£9.51||Level 2|
|Painters and decorators||31,163||2.6%||£10.43||Level 3|
|Book-keepers, payroll managers and wages clerks||27,150||2.3%||£11.61||Level 2|
|Construction project managers and related professionals||24,597||2.1%||£17.14||Level 6|
|Construction and building trades supervisors||23,841||2.0%||£13.30||Level 3|
|Scaffolders, stagers and riggers||23,525||2.0%||£13.36||Level 2|
|Bricklayers and masons||22,399||1.9%||£11.47||Level 3|
|Civil engineers||21,378||1.8%||£16.63||Level 6|
|Construction operatives n.e.c.||20,452||1.7%||£9.50||Level 2|
|Telecommunications engineers||19,878||1.7%||£15.69||Level 3|
|Personal assistants and other secretaries||17,646||1.5%||£11.85||Level 2|
|Quantity surveyors||17,228||1.4%||£18.39||Level 6|
|Production managers and directors in manufacturing||13,994||1.2%||£20.49||Level 6|
|Mobile machine drivers and operatives n.e.c.||13,739||1.1%||£10.16||Level 2|
As you can see, Electricians and electrical fitters top the table with 87,328 people employed in this occupation in 2013, making up 7.3% of the Construction industry. This is followed by Production managers and directors in construction with 71,087 people employed (5.9% of the industry) and then Plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers with 70,308 people employed (5.9%).
The highest salaries in the sector are to be found in the “non-physical” occupations, such as Production managers and directors in manufacturing, and Quantity surveyors. It is worth noting that the construction industry not only includes the kinds of occupations we would normally think of when asked about construction trades, such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters, but also occupations like Book-keepers, payroll managers and wages clerks.
Regional Variations in Construction
Where, we might ask, are all the jobs in Construction? Breaking the country down into Government Office Region, we can see which regions employed the most people in 2013:
According to our data, the highest employment regions for the Construction industry in 2013 were the South East (194,233), London (169,061), and the North West (154,162). As for the other end of the scale, the lowest number of Construction jobs were found in Wales (55,132) and the North East (56,229).
The Future of Construction
Having given a high-level overview of the Construction sector, and then taken a look at the industry, occupation and regional situation, we can end this piece by taking a look into the future. As with any forecasting, we use past trends as well as current data to predict what is likely to happen in the future, and whilst clearly not an exact science, it does give a good indication of the direction things are likely to go in.
We mentioned above that the long-term trends show that Construction should continue to rise over the next five years, with another 75,372 jobs expected in 2018 than in 2013. There are numerous ways in which we can look at this growth, but let’s take a look at the future in terms of regional growth and then occupation growth.
The graph below shows which regions are likely to see the biggest growth in Construction, as a percentage, over the next five years:
Some of the figures here may come as a surprise. As a percentage of existing employment, the two regions where we might expect to see the highest growth are the South West (11%) and Wales (9%), which were fifth and last respectively in the graph above showing employment numbers in Construction in 2013. This is good news for both regions, especially for the South West which looks set to see more than 13,000 more people employed in Construction over the next five years.
Another way that we can look at what the future might hold, is to see which occupations are set to grow within the Construction industry:
Table: Top 10 Highest Growth Construction Occupations Over the Next Five Years
|Occupation||Employed in Industry (2013)||Employed in Industry (2018)||Change (2013 - 2018)||% Change (2013 - 2018)||Education Level|
|Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2014.1|
|Production managers and directors in construction||71,087||76,845||5,758||8%||Level 3|
|Electricians and electrical fitters||87,328||92,803||5,475||6%||Level 3|
|Construction and building trades n.e.c.||54,559||58,230||3,671||7%||Level 3|
|Other administrative occupations n.e.c.||34,490||37,787||3,297||10%||Level 2|
|Plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers||70,308||73,318||3,010||4%||Level 3|
|Elementary construction occupations||63,121||65,336||2,215||4%||Level 2|
|Property, housing and estate managers||12,996||14,651||1,655||13%||Level 3|
|Financial managers and directors||12,061||13,702||1,641||14%||Level 6|
|Book-keepers, payroll managers and wages clerks||27,150||28,745||1,595||6%||Level 2|
|Production managers and directors in manufacturing||13,994||15,557||1,563||11%||Level 6|
Much of the growth, according to our forecast, is set to come from the non-physical occupations, such as Production managers and directors in construction and Other administrative occupations n.e.c. This is an interesting feature of the data that Further Education colleges with Construction departments would do well to bear in mind as they plan their curriculums.
Although much more could be said, the data above has revealed a number of key points:
- Despite a difficult last few years, Construction has picked up in the past year
- A significant number of the highest employment occupations within Construction are white collar jobs
- The next five years looks set to see Construction grow, in all regions throughout the country
EMSI and City & Guilds are working in partnership to deliver an innovative new service to FE Colleges. City & Guilds Advance provides colleges with a detailed labour market review, linked to their current curriculum and identify gaps in provision leading to a full quality review of key subject areas to address key Ofsted requirements. To find out more please visit the City & Guilds website.