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What does the UK construction sector have in store for 2018?

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2017 was a turbulent year for the construction sector in the UK, with Brexit casting a shadow of uncertainty over the market. Despite this, a rise in residential construction presented optimism towards the latter part of the year and saw the sector return to growth. On the back of this, 2018 looks set to stabilise, with strong growth predicted in the industrial, hotel and leisure and education sectors. This will be good news for industry professionals looking for their next construction job – here’s what to expect:

Growth in investment outside London

Last year saw a shift in property investment away from London to locations outside the capital, according to UK Construction Media. With developers increasingly seeking out more affordable land, and northern regions typically requiring significantly less capital than London, we can expect to see residential construction and investment continue to boom outside the capital city. Cities and towns with significant transport infrastructure developments planned will be of particular interest to buyers and developers, and as such we can expect to see more construction job opportunities emerge in these areas.

Infrastructure drives the sector forward

The infrastructure sector is tipped to be the main driver for construction in the UK over the coming two years. With growth of 11.1% expected in 2018 and a further 12.8% in 2019, the roads, water and sewerage, rail and energy infrastructure sub-sectors will provide plenty of career opportunities for skilled construction professionals. Projects such as the Thames Tideway, HS2, Hinkley Point C and Manchester Airport are having a significant impact on overall construction sector growth across the UK.

Technological innovation continues

Emerging technologies continue to disrupt the construction industry, with modular building and 3D printing likely to grow in popularity through 2018. Virtual and augmented reality may play a more significant role in construction design and visualisation, while the increased awareness of environmental issues will likely see moves towards eco-friendly technologies and construction methods, says DeltaHedron. Similarly, as smart technologies take off and consumers look for more intuitive designs, the use of electronics and sensors in smart buildings will continue to rise. Tech-savvy construction workers who have an eye for innovation will become increasingly important to the industry in 2018 and beyond.

Skills shortage drives demand

The latter part of 2017 saw a shortage of surveyors, bricklayers and other construction workers, with a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors study showing that the skills shortage is the second-biggest problem facing the industry. As the resurgence in construction industry growth continues, we expect the training industry to grow accordingly as organisations look to upskill and train new workers in the market. Opportunities for apprentices may increase in a bid to identify and develop new talent to meet the skills gap, and fully-trained professionals will likely find a market with much to offer.

Tourism boosts the hotel and leisure sector

The number of overseas visitors to the UK in the first half of 2017 was up 9% on 2016, according to Glenigan, which has contributed to the predicted 20% growth in the hotel and leisure sector this year. With a weaker pound encouraging international visitors to take advantage of travelling to the UK, we should see a further boost to this sector. A strengthening pre-construction development pipeline here will see more construction workers employed in the hotel and leisure sector, with London, the North West and South East leading the way in terms of planning approvals for hotel and leisure projects.

Take advantage of the industry conditions

The market is primed and ready for workers to take advantage of the many construction job opportunities on offer. If you're looking for your next role in the sector, contact the Service Care Solutions team here, or take a look at our latest vacancies.

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