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New figures released as part of the Annual Population Survey show there were approximately 176,500 people employed in the Scottish construction sector last year, around 58,500 fewer than in 2008 when industry employment hit a peak of 235,000.

Recent output figures showing Scottish industry output hit an all-time high of £11.9 billion in 2014. Industry employment has failed to keep pace, however. As a consequence, every £1 million of industry output generated now supports 15 Scottish construction jobs, whereas the same output value would have supported 22 jobs back in 2004.

These output figures are unsustainable. It is encouraging that levels of industry employment began to rise in 2014 following five years of decline. But without suitably balanced growth across all sectors, a decoupling of jobs and output will continue, placing the industry’s long-term recovery at real risk.

The public sector has an important role to play by prioritising procurement and project funding decisions that maximise direct employment in the industry.

Vaughan Hart

Scottish Building 
Federation

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