How Many Construction Companies are There In The UK

construction workers in the UK

If you’re interested in learning about the construction industry in the UK and the number of construction companies in the country, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we will provide an overview of the construction landscape in the UK, including the different types of contractors and relevant statistics.

Number of construction companies in the UK

  • According to a recent study there are 642,252 construction companies in the UK
  • 220,093 are general construction contractors
  • 399,124 are special trade contractors.
  • 23,035 are heavy construction contractors for infrastructure other than buildings such as roads and sewers.
  • There are 55,442 electrical contractor companies.
Powered by Eruptible

UK Construction Industry Overview

Skill Shortages and Workforce Development

The UK construction industry faces a significant challenge due to a national skills shortage, which is exerting pressure across various sectors. This shortage is particularly acute in specialist professions such as conservation stonemasons, master joiners, leadworkers, gilders, and cleaners.

The talent pool in these niche roles is shrinking, necessitating urgent action from both policymakers and industry leaders to develop and implement strategies to overcome these human resource shortages (source).

A 2023 trade skills report highlighted an alarming need for approximately 937,000 new workers within the UK construction sector by 2032 to meet the increasing demand. This situation is compounded by an ageing workforce, the cost-of-living crisis, and the lingering effects of Brexit, which have impacted the uptake of new workers in the industry.

However, there is optimism that with the UK economy beginning to stabilize, there will be a concerted effort to attract more young people to apprenticeships and other roles within the construction sector (source).

Sustainability and Efficiency

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a central focus in the construction industry. Firms are striving to balance the imperatives of sustainability with efficiency, adapting to evolving market trends, environmental regulations, and the growing demand for greener buildings.

This includes efforts to reduce the embodied carbon of construction materials, employing passive design principles, and utilizing energy-efficient equipment (source).

The industry is aligning with international goals such as the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.

This ambitious plan requires all new buildings and a significant portion of existing structures to be zero-carbon-ready by 2030. The US Green Building Council’s 2023 report indicates that most surveyed E&C firms consider sustainability a top priority, aligning with their organizational mission and business strategies (source).

Economic and Sectoral Outlook

Despite a slight drop in construction output in October 2023, there are positive signs for the UK construction industry heading into 2024. The total number of workers in the sector has risen, now standing at 2.25 million, representing a 1.6% increase from the previous year.

This growth in the workforce, particularly in the self-employed sector, indicates a rebound and a confidence in the industry’s future.

The West Midlands and the South East have seen the most significant increases in construction employees, suggesting regional variations in industry growth. With the number of vacancies dropping, companies appear confident in their current staffing levels, preparing for a robust start to the new year.

This optimistic outlook is further supported by the forecast of a 12% recovery rate increase for the UK construction industry, suggesting a reversal of the challenges faced in 2023 (source).

In conclusion, the UK construction industry in 2024 is navigating a complex landscape marked by workforce challenges, a strong push towards sustainability, and a cautiously optimistic economic outlook. Addressing the skill shortages, particularly in specialist roles, remains a crucial task. Simultaneously, the industry’s commitment to sustainable practices aligns it with global environmental goals. The economic indicators, including workforce growth and a predicted recovery in the construction rate, suggest resilience and potential growth in the sector. As the industry continues to adapt and evolve, these factors will play a pivotal role in shaping its future trajectory.