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The UK's Most In-Demand Tradespeople

15th August 2023


The number of open vacancies in construction trades has reached 140,000, with builders, electricians and plumbers in highest demand

The construction skills shortage continues to impact UK construction, as vacancies in construction trades exceed 140,000.

Metal supplier metals4u reviewed job listings on Indeed, Totaljobs, and LinkedIn to compare the most in-demand skills in the trades.

Builders, electricians, and plumbers are currently the most in-demand tradespeople in the UK, with over 65,000 open vacancies on popular job sites.

With the UK expected to be the fastest growing larger construction market of the major Western European economies over the next 15 years, hitting £381bn revenue in 2023 alone, this shortage is only predicted to get worse.

The most in-demand tradespeople were:

  • Builders (52,113 vacancies)
  • Electricians (12,005 vacancies)
  • Plumbers (11,928 vacancies)
  • Gas Engineer (9,873 vacancies)
  • Flooring Contractor (7,812 vacancies)
  • Painter (7,597 vacancies)
  • Carpenter (6,997 vacancies)
  • Window Cleaner (5,887 vacancies)
  • Joiner (5,729 vacancies)
  • Roofer (4,547 vacancies)

Employment of plasterers, bricklayers and tilers is in a healthier state, with fewer than 2,000 listings for each trade across job sites.

A regional breakdown showed that joiners were most highly sought after in Edinburgh and Leeds; gas engineers are in high demand in Birmingham and Liverpool; whilst floor contractors are most wanted in London.

The vacancies are an early indicator of the future

recent industry report revealed that 937,000 new workers will be needed in the construction and trade industries by 2032 to meet the ever-growing demand.

Paul McFadyen, chairman at metals4U, has shared his insight into what an industry-wide skills shortage could mean for the trade sector: “Construction, building, and metal materials have been in heavy demand in the UK over the last few years, with increased development in residential and commercial properties. And the growing demand for builders and other tradespeople, combined with a shortage of the right qualifications is causing major issues.

“A recent FMB State of Trade survey revealed that 60% of jobs are stalled due to labour shortages, and this is something expected to continue in the construction industry as more houses need to be built.”

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