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UK Construction Industry Outlook for 2020

A new year and a new government – and with it, plenty of new opportunities for construction professionals. The Conservatives have promised to increase expenditure on housing, education, health and major civil engineering projects, creating more jobs in construction across the UK. So, where are the projects – and the most construction jobs – likely to be in 2020? Is UK construction’s future bright? Here’s what we think. 

Major Infrastructure Projects

Existing infrastructure projects such as Thames Tideway and Hinkley Point are still creating vacancies for quantity surveyors, project managers, and civil engineers and will be for some time – Thames Tideway is expected to complete in 2024, and Hinkley Point in 2025-26. The £1.4 billion Stonehenge Tunnel is also going ahead, with works in the very early stages before commencing on site in 2021, making it the perfect time for quantity surveyors, commercial managers, and civil engineers to get involved in this unique major project. 

Two upcoming major intermodal freight terminal projects in the Midlands which may start this year are the West Midlands Interchange, near Junction 12 of the M6 (awaiting a Development Consent Order (DCO) due by February 2020 if approved), and Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange, a second intermodal freight terminal near M1 Junction 15 (approved in October 2019.) Expect to see demand increase in the Midlands for project managers, quantity surveyors, rail engineers and highway engineers as these projects get ready to hit the ground. 

Vacancies in Rail

With High Speed 2 (HS2) still awaiting the final Oakervee Review and no firm commitment in place from the government to continue, other major rail projects will dominate this year. Crossrail is entering the final stages, with a planned Autumn 2021 completion date. To get over the finish line on time, jobs for quantity surveyors, commercial managers, rail systems engineers, and site managers with rail experience will be highly sought after. Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (CP6) got underway in April 2019, which is also driving projects – and rail vacancies – across the country. 

Jobs in Highways

Highways funding was also promised £28.8 billion by the Conservatives for strategic and local roads, presumably focused on maintenance and upgrade works. However, Highways England still have several projects in the pipeline. Major projects gearing up this year seem to be clustered in the South West, such as the A303 Stonehenge, A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross and A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling, all awaiting DCOs. 

Construction Jobs in Energy 

As part of their campaign pledges, a substantial increase in infrastructure spending was promised, particularly for the energy sector and IT infrastructure. Wind projects featured highly within the Conservative manifesto, and there are currently three wind farm projects awaiting a planning decision by the Secretary of State, due shortly – two of which are located in Wales, with the third in East Anglia. 

A Brighter Future for Construction

Forecasts from construction experts are all saying the same thing – construction growth is set to rise this year and the next, boosted by a majority government looking to stimulate the economy through construction. With the projects already underway and several more about to start – as well as the government’s pledge to build 300,000 homes a year until the mid-2020s – jobs in construction are about to become more plentiful, so send us your CV or sign-up for our job alerts to be the first to hear about our latest vacancies.

About the Author

Steve Thomas

Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada
I am responsible for the Maxim Recruitment office in the UK where our team of recruitment consultants specialise in the recruitment of quantity surveyors, commercial managers, delay, dispute and claims consultants for civil engineering and building contractors and specialist construction consultancies.  I am also responsible for growing our recruitment operation in Canada and North America.
I have over 20 years of experience in construction recruitment and enjoy working on both contingency and search/headhunting assignments for our new and repeat clients.
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Latest UK Job Vacancies: https://www.maximrecruitment.com/jobs-uk 
Email: steve@maximrecruitment.com

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