20% of Scotland’s construction industry employees likely to retire within 10 years

20% of Scotland’s construction industry employees likely to retire within 10 years

With an aging workforce preparing for retirement, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is campaigning to get school leavers to embark on a career in construction.

A new CITB campaign, Can You Dig It? was launched following the release of new figures that suggest the sector will see around 31,000 employees retire within the next decade. The initiative has been rolled out to fit in with the release of exam results in the hopes of encouraging Scottish students to contemplate a career in the building profession.

The venture urges young people to visit the Go Construct website where they can take a personality quiz to ascertain which construction career would suit them best. With over 150 options available, the scheme hopes to convey the concept that the industry is open to all, regardless of gender or ethnic background. With jobs ranging from drone operators to traditional stonemasons, landscape architects to BIM managers, the scope is considerable and, with the industry desperate for new blood, there is a lot riding on this campaign.


A recent analysis of the Labour Force Survey completed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates that the Scottish construction industry workforce is comprised of approximately 16,000 employees aged 60 or over and nearly 15,000 aged between 55 and 59. Excellent job opportunities are opening within the sector as these workers head towards retirement. Additional prospects are available to those who have accumulated experience elsewhere and are now seeking a change of career.

With the current workforce showing limited diversity, with just 6% from an ethnic minority background and 14% female, part of the initiative is to encourage people from different social groups to consider construction as a prospective career.

CITB strategic partnerships director in Scotland, Ian Hughes, said: “The reality in Scotland is that in five years’ time, around 10% of the industry workforce will have retired. Over the next decade, that total figure is closer to 20%, at nearly 31,000 people. The opportunities in construction are therefore truly vast for young people getting their exam results this August.

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 “With rapid and exciting changes in construction technology, the potential for offsite manufacturing to revolutionise the industry, and a 5.7% growth rate in Scotland’s private housing sector over 2017 and 2018, the industry needs young people – and their families – to give serious consideration to a career in construction.”

The CITB continues to work alongside the industry to ensure its continued modernisation and development. The recruitment of new talent from a range of backgrounds and ages is central to this goal.