Why Does Anyone Want to Work in the UK Construction Industry?

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Abstract

Construction operatives in the United Kingdom work in conditions which are often dangerous, exposed to poor environmental conditions, and subject to unpredictable employment prospects. Entry to the UK construction workforce is falling. Uptake of construction apprenticeships is low, as young people choose to work in industries that are more secure, better paid and where they can work in more forgiving environmental conditions. This prompts the questions: why does anyone want to go into the construction industry in the first place? What factors influence their choice, and what are the activities that give those in construction most job satisfaction? This research aims to answer these questions. Twenty-five interviews with construction operatives were undertaken, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis with qualitative analysis software. The findings show that the respondents joined the construction industry through a combination of family ties and personal connections
to the industry, an interest in making things and chance. The respondents enjoy the varied nature of their work, the challenge of solving complex programming and coordination problems, and many cite that they enjoy constantly learning on the job. The experience of handing over a completed building and observing the community benefit that a facility can bring was often cited as a source of great satisfaction. Role models are important to encourage the next generation of construction workers to enter the industry. The findings will equip those tasked with recruiting to the construction industry with information to attract new entrants to the workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication37th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) Conference: Proceedings
PublisherARCOM
Pages330 - 339
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 06 Sep 2021

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