Report reveals that 184,000 fewer construction recruits than predicted will be required over the next four years

The number of recruits needed to satisfy predicted construction growth in the UK has halved, according to a new report.

Despite predicting a dramatic fall in the requirement for new recruits, the Construction Skills Network (CSN) said that the industry will continue to grow over the next few years.

Its new report shows that a slowdown in housing and related sectors has reduced the requirement for new recruits from the previous average of 88,000 a year to just 42,000 between next year and 2013.

Compared with previous forecasts produced at the end of 2007, the number of new recruits required to satisfy growth shows a total fall of 184,000 over four years.

High-value projects such as Olympic Park and the Thames Gateway regeneration should ensure that, according to the forecast, UK construction will expand by 0.7% annually between 2009 and 2013.

However, while infrastructure is forecast strong annual average growth at 6.5% until 2013, just 0.3% growth is expected for private housing.

Such sector variations are responsible for the stark change in requirement for new recruits. Infrastructure is far less labour-intensive than housing and so requires fewer new entrants to deliver planned projects.

The CSN's data is usually published every February, but the figures have been revised to provide an interim indication of the credit crunch's impact on the construction sector's skills needs.

The figures are based on changes to official data and feedback from the CSN's experts around the country.