After six years of contraction, which took the construction sector in Northern Ireland in 2013 down to just 57% of its 2007 peak, output stabilised in 2014. Having finally returned to growth in 2015, construction output in Northern Ireland is predicted to have an annual average growth of 3% over the next five years, higher than the UK rate of 2.5%.
According to the CSN Industry Insights Report for NI 2016-2020, the performance of the local construction industry over the next five years is expected to show a 3% average annual growth in both public and private housing. Growth in infrastructure is driven by water and sewage work in the short term and transport over the longer term. Hospitals and education work should benefit the public non-housing sector and the commercial construction sector is seeing an upsurge in hotel building work.
Employment growth is projected to average 1.5% a year over the 2016 to 2020 period, above the UK rate of 1.1%. Demand is projected to be strongest in some of the managerial / supervisory and professional occupational categories, especially construction project managers (2.9%), construction trades supervisors (3.2%), and architects (3.1%), but some trades show strong growth as well, such as bricklayers (3.7%) and wood trades and interior fit out (3.4%). Northern Ireland’s Annual Recruitment Requirement (ARR), at 1,760 for the 2016 to 2020 period shows further growth from last year when the requirement was for 1,490 a year on average between 2015 and 2019. This represents a considerable expansion of the ARR since its low of 660 forecast in 2012 for the 2013 to 2017 period.
Barry Neilson, Chief Executive, CITB NI said, “The past few years have been really tough for the construction sector but as the CSN Industry Insights Report shows, we really seem to be over the worst and we will start to see real growth in our local construction industry over the next five years. Developments in the commercial sector will drive growth, and the promised delivery of further investment by Government in capital expenditure projects will be vital to ensure that future growth is sustained.”
“Skills are widely accepted as a key driver in how Northern Ireland can achieve our economic goals, preparing our young people for work, investing in the skills of those already in work, and ensuring that we have the skills required to grow the economy are essential for all sectors, in particular construction. It is also interesting that the high areas of demand in skills are focused on supervisor and managerial skills ”
“In response to the ongoing skills challenge, CITB NI has developed a new virtual environment training facility which will bring a new dimension to construction training. We are also developing the skills of supervisors and leaders through our Site Supervisor and Leader in Construction Programmes. We also continually promote construction careers to the younger generation through our website, careers fairs and working closely with the Department for Employment and Learning through their careers advisors. By encouraging new entrants, attracting those workers who have left the industry to return, and upskilling those currently in the sector, we can help deliver the upcoming projects forecast for Northern Ireland faster and better.”
For more information on the CSN and to read the full report, visit the R&D section of our website www.citbni.org.uk