Gap in parents knowledge of the construction industry stands in the way of skills shortage

Parents may be the greatest obstacle to bringing young entrants into the construction industry, a new survey suggests.

The ConstructionSkills survey found that only 4% of parents rated construction site manager as the preferred career option for their children. Of those questioned 6% rated civil engineer as their preferred option in a list that included doctor (41%), teacher (11%), policeman (6%) accountant (5%) and pop star (2%).

Only 40% of parents said they would be pleased if their children were interested in working in the construction industry, and a mere 20% believed the construction industry offered the most career opportunities for their children. However, only 8% admitted they would be disappointed if their child was interested in a career in construction.

The survey also pointed to a level of ignorance in parents as to the scale of the industry. Nearly 70% of mothers and 50% of fathers did not know that construction is the UK’s largest employer. A ConstructionSkills report has estimated that 87,600 new recruits will be needed every year from 2007 to 2011.

ConstructionSkills recruitment manager Paul Sykes said: “There does seem to be a gap in some parents’ understanding of what the construction industry has to offer and we need to seek to address this. We have a massive skills demand and the industry clearly has some way to go to become a first-choice employer for our graduates and school leavers. To overcome this, we need to work in partnership with employers, teachers, careers advisers and parents.”

The research was carried out as part of ConstructionSkills’ “Positive Image” recruitment campaign, which promotes the range of careers on offer in the modern industry.