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Projected decline in numbers of construction engineers and skilled workers highlight need for strategic planning

15:03 | 11/05/2024

(Construction) - Tokyo-based non-profit organization Research Institute of Construction and Economy has compiled future estimates for the number of construction engineers and skilled workers.

Based on the latest census data, it predicts that by 2035, the number of engineers will shift from a "slight decrease to an increase," while skilled workers will experience a "significant decrease." The aging of engineers contrasts with the increasing numbers of young people in their twenties, women, and foreigners, which are seen as positive factors. The shortage of workers, particularly carpenters and plasterers, has become more acute over the past 15 years.

Projected decline in numbers of construction engineers and skilled workers highlight need for strategic planning
Illustration photo (internet)

The total number of engineers in the construction sector, combining "architectural engineers" and "civil engineering and surveying engineers," was 506,000 as of 2020. Employment in construction-related industries such as construction companies, civil engineering and architectural services, and public administration has increased from 2015 to 2020. The recovery of construction investment over the past decade has contributed to active employment, especially among women, whose numbers reached 46,000 by 2020, with a significant growth rate.

Future estimates were analyzed using two scenarios: "Case 1," calculated based on the rate of change from 2015 to 2020, and "Case 2," calculated based on the average of three rates of change divided into five-year intervals from 2005 to 2020. In 2035, the number of engineers was estimated to be 582,000 in Case 1 and 471,000 in Case 2.

The census category corresponding to skilled workers in the construction sector, "construction and mining workers," numbered 2.447 million in 2020, representing a decrease of about three-quarters since 2005. Estimating the number of skilled workers in 2035, Case 1 predicts 1.932 million, while Case 2 predicts 1.655 million. Even with a hypothetical 15% increase in productivity from 2020 to 2035, the shortage of skilled workers cannot be resolved. This underscores the urgent need for securing and nurturing talent and improving productivity in the construction industry. (2024/04/24)

The Daily Engineering and Construction News of Japan

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