Construction is considered an ‘attractive’ career prospect by 56% of the 2,000 young people (aged 18-29) who participated in the survey.
They were asked “How attractive or unattractive do you consider a career in the construction sector?”; 24% said “very attractive” and 32% said “somewhat attractive”. Only 16% considered it unattractive or very unattractive.
However, when given a list of careers and asked which one they would like to have (asked for the top two), only 9% said “skilled trade, eg plumber, carpenter, mason, electrician”. Among the students in the sample, only 4% had any interest in a construction trade.
Students were also more likely to view construction as an unattractive career prospect compared to those who already worked. Of the 129 unemployed young people who responded to the survey, 35% considered that a career in construction is “very attractive”.
“Engineer” was among the top two most desired careers by 12% of the survey panel, putting it second only to medical and health professionals (favored by 13%). However, it is unclear whether respondents contemplated a career as a construction engineer rather than software or space travel.
Only 8% of respondents had an architect in their top two roles. Finance, social media influencer, designer, and educator scored higher than the construction trades.
Among those who dislike construction, the top reasons given were that it is dirty and manual (52%), dangerous (37%), sexist (33%) and boring (22%).
Among those who like the idea of construction, the top reasons given were that it is “an industry going through massive change” (35%), love architecture (32%), want a hands-on job (32%) and they want to “create a better physical world” (31%). 31% of construction fans also appreciated the fact that there are many paths to a well-paying, college-educated career.
Given the lack of previous data with which to compare, the results are clearly inconclusive. However, the poll’s sponsor, NBS, drew its own conclusions, apparently on the basis that construction has generally struggled in the past to attract Britain’s best and brightest young talent. “The survey indicates a clear cultural shift in attitudes among younger generations, helped in part by the growing number of digital opportunities available and the extensive media attention surrounding the use of industry-leading technology in the sector, dispelling the myth that construction is a dead end. career,” he declared.
Russell Haworth, chief executive of the NBS (formerly the National Building Specification), said: “It is clear that perceptions around construction are changing. Young people now realize that it is not the boring, dangerous and dirty work that mislabeled for years by professional educators and advisers. It’s great to see such an increase in interest after a few years of lean recruiting.”