North’s construction sector needs 5,000 new workers by 2028 - report

New industry analysis forecasts NI construction sector will grow at faster pace than UK in coming years

Close up of industrial bricklayer laying bricks on cement mix on construction site
A new report from the Construction Skills Network forecasts that the volume of construction work in the north will grow by an annual average rate of 2.8%. (Getty/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

As many as 5,000 new construction workers could be needed in the north to support the sector’s growth over the next four years, a new report claims.

New figures from Construction Skills Network’s Labour Market Intelligence Report for Northern Ireland Ireland, forecasts the volume of construction work in the north will grow by an annual average rate of 2.8%, higher than the 2.4% rate forecast for the UK.

The report said the additional recruitment requirement (ARR) in Northern Ireland is 1.6%, slightly lower than the UK value of 1.9%.

The CSN said that means an extra 5,200 construction workers could be needed between 2024 and 2028.

The report said the infrastructure, repair and maintenance sectors are expected to have the fastest rates of growth.

The strongest recruitment requirement demand is expected for labourers, carpenters and joiners.

The report also anticipates high demand for non-construction professional, technical, IT and other office based staff.

Overall, the CSN intelligence report forecasts that construction output will grow by around 1.5% in Northern Ireland.

That compares to the wider outlook for the UK, where just 0.2% of growth is anticipated.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), which works with construction firms to improve skills and support recruitment challenges, said it is planning boot camps in the north aimed at schools and students.

“The figures from the recent CSN report indicates that the outlook for Northern Ireland is positive reflecting growth and employment which reiterates how crucial construction is for the local economy,” said CITB NI chief executive Barry Neilson.

“The drive for greater energy efficiency and a net-zero carbon society is however a significant challenge.

Barry Neilson
Barry Neilson.

“It is essential to have a well-trained and competent construction workforce ready for future opportunities.

“As demands on infrastructure and energy efficiency rise, we must upskill existing workers and prepare new entrants for future challenges, both known and unknown.”