Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: industry leadership groups and sector groups - evidence

This paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's industry leadership groups and other economic sector groups as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

5. Construction Industry Leadership Group

Figure 5.1 – Turnover and GVA of the Scottish Construction Sector [9]
Figure 5.2 – Employment of the Scottish Construction Sector [10]

Industry Aspirations to 2030

The vision for the industry is to improve business practices to become better equipped to respond to future demands efficiently and effectively, and enhancing positive contribution to Scotland’s environment (including Net Zero targets), economy and society

Industry Opportunities

The construction industry has significant growth potential:

  • construction is at the forefront of the race to achieve Net Zero and is thus one of the most effective sectors in which the government can invest to stimulate and sustain economic activity across its wide-ranging supply chain and cross-sectoral stakeholders;
  • it provides well remunerated employment to people from a wide range of educational backgrounds, from school leavers to graduates and post graduate professionals;
  • application of digital technologies, innovative uses of data and the adoption of modern methods of construction offer considerable opportunity; and,
  • increases in economic activity can be focussed on the geographical area of the project and therefore new construction projects can act as accelerators for local economic development. Construction already takes place in every part of the country, including islands and is not limited to the Central Belt or major cities.

Industry Challenges

The construction industry’s key challenges relate to:

  • the way construction is procured, which needs to change to ensure a fair balance between risk and reward, if the outcomes that Government and industry jointly seek from the sector, including ensuring that public sector spend is retained within Scotland, are to be realised;
  • the substantial balance of business for the Construction sector relies on private sector investment. Increasing such investment in Scotland is critical to maintaining and growing its contribution;
  • lack of skilled operatives, which continues to be the biggest threat to the sector’s sustainability, both from an aging workforce and the significant reduction in European labour. There have been several initiatives aimed at attracting young people into the industry, but they have not had the effect anticipated; and,
  • clear, visible, pipelines of work are required to allow the industry to plan ahead and invest in skills and technology. Although great strides are being taken towards this, the focus now needs to be on the accuracy of the information and on engagement with industry.

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Industry

The industry is working to modernise its approach and how it is perceived, particularly at the smaller contractor level. It is promoting opportunitiesinto the diverse range of occupations and available levels of renumeration to young people, parents and the education sector.



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