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Trends of skills and productivity in the UK construction industry

Mohamed S. Abdel‐Wahab (Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Engineering (CICE), Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Andrew R.J. Dainty (Civil and Building Engineering Department, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Stephen G. Ison (Civil and Building Engineering Department, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Patrick Bowen (Research and Development Department, Construction Skills, King's Lynn, UK)
Guy Hazlehurst (Mace Sustain, London, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




UK government policy has emphasised the role of skills development and training as a means of improving productivity performance across all sectors of the economy. The purpose of this paper is to assess the appropriateness of this policy within the context of the construction industry, in light of the recently published statistics.


A trend analysis of construction productivity (measured by Gross Value Added/worker) and skills indicators (qualification attainment and training) was conducted over the period 1995‐2006.


There is inconsistency in the industry's productivity performance, despite the overall increase in qualification attainment levels and participation rates in training over the same period. However, the year‐on‐year change in the participation rate of training was not consistently associated with an improvement in productivity performance.


It is argued that the effective utilisation of skills rather than mere increase in the supply of skills is a key to bringing about productivity improvements. Indeed future policy makers decisions should focus on addressing other influences on productivity performance such as work organisation and management practice to support further development and progression of the UK construction industry.



Abdel‐Wahab, M.S., Dainty, A.R.J., Ison, S.G., Bowen, P. and Hazlehurst, G. (2008), "Trends of skills and productivity in the UK construction industry", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 372-382.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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