Skills Supply – Part 1

Listed below are the growth trends in the Construction sector since 2018.

Overall Growth

  • The Construction sector has experienced a substantial increase of 9%.
  • This growth rate is twice the national average, which stands at 4%.
  • In comparison to the East of England, where the growth rate is 6%, the Construction has outperformed significantly.

Regional Breakdown

Essex has witnessed the most significant growth in specific roles:

  • Plastering 53% increase.
  • Painters and Decorators 39% rise.
  • Bricklayers 29% growth.
  • Conversely, certain roles have experienced decline:
  • Sheet Metal Workers: A decline of 27%.
  • Metal Plate Workers, Smiths, Moulders, and Related Occupations: A decrease of 22%.
  • Building and Civil Engineering Technicians: A reduction of 19%.


These figures provide valuable insights into the dynamics of the Construction sector in different areas.

Source: Lightcast Occupational table 2018 – 2023 KK Mar 24. Please note red figures denote a minus figure.



Here are the key findings of the construction sector vacancies over the past twelve months (from February 2023 to February 2024).

There has been a total of 19,452 vacancies in the construction sector during this period. These vacancies were posted by 2,664 different employers.

The highest number of vacancies (over 3,000) were for quantity surveyor positions.

There is significant demand for elementary construction occupations, with over 2,000 vacancies.

Similarly, construction supervisors also have a substantial demand, with over 2,000 vacancies.

This data provides valuable insights into the current state of the construction job market, highlighting the roles that are in high demand.

The top ten vacancies in this region exhibit a consistent pattern, comprising similar types of job openings. There is substantial provision for qualifications within this area. However, a deeper exploration is necessary to understand the skills gaps that candidates face and how we can provide effective support.


Discrepancies Between Advertised Skills and Applicant CVs:

When examining job postings, we observe that the skills listed as requirements do not always align with the skills highlighted in applicants’ CVs. Notably, certain skills—such as “communication” and being “detail-oriented”—are frequently mentioned in job advertisements but are not consistently reflected in CVs submitted by candidates.


Soft Skills and Technical Skills:

These finding echo feedback received in the broader Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP). Employers express concern about a lack of soft skills among the workforce. While technical skills receive significant emphasis, softer skills—such as effective communication and attention to detail—may be overlooked.

It is imperative that we consider implementing provision to incorporate these essential soft skills into training programs  offering them to existing employees. Ensuring a well-rounded skill set will contribute to further career development.

In summary, addressing the skills gap and emphasizing both technical and soft skills can enhance the overall workforce readiness and productivity.

Specialist Skills

Analysing Specialist Skills and Their Demand in CVs

In examining specialist skills, we observe a discrepancy between demand and representation in CVs. Specifically, forklift truck operation emerges as a skill in high demand, yet it remains absent from many candidates’ CV’s.

Several potential explanations warrant consideration:

Provision Gap:

  • Forklift truck expertise might not be part of the standard curriculum or training programs currently available.
  • Candidates may lack exposure to this specialised skill due to limitations in educational offerings or industry-specific training.

Linguistic Shifts:

  • The language used within the industry could be evolving.
  • Candidates might not be aware of these changes, leading to outdated terminology on their CVs.
  • Adjusting the language they use could enhance their CV’s

In summary, addressing the gap between demand and representative skills requires both educational adjustments and awareness of industry terminology.

Candidates should consider updating the language used on their CV’s to align with current industry practices.

Enhancing Skills Provision

Across the East of England, a consistent set of skills, including those relevant to Essex, is apparent. To address the skills deficit, strategic provision must be established. These initiatives aim to empower the workforce with essential competencies, aligning them effectively with employers’ needs.


When analysing the employment opportunities in Essex over the past year, it becomes evident that certain regions exhibit a notably higher number of job openings. Notably, there appears to be a correlation between the surge in housing developments around Chelmsford, Basildon, Braintree, and Colchester, and the implementation of major infrastructure projects, including the lower Thames crossing and the A12 widening12. These observations highlight the interplay between urban expansion and employment prospects in the region.

When analysing average advertised salaries in Essex relative to neighbouring regions and the national context, we observe that Essex ranks slightly above the national wage level but falls below Kent, Suffolk, and other neighbouring areas. Specifically, the advertised salary for roles in the construction sector aligns closely with the average UK salary, which stands at £31,800.