• Sectors we work in banner(2)

    Quick Reads

New industry group aims to build sustainability skills in the construction sector

The recruitment drive to enlist individuals sufficiently skilled to deliver net zero has kicked up a gear with the creation of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce.

This Taskforce comes in response to a survey of industry professionals by the City of London Corporation that found 91% of respondents said the commercial built environment sector lacks sufficient skilled workers to achieve net zero targets.

The built environment has a leading role in helping to achieve the UK’s net zero target by 2050 – being responsible for around a quarter of emissions in the UK. While construction has long been a large contributor to carbon emissions (both embodied and operating), there are impressive strides being made in this area with innovative procurement methods such as modern methods of construction (MMC), and more construction products that can reduce the use of carbon throughout the lifecycle of a development (which we have previously considered here). However, a project is only as good as the people involved in it and the Taskforce has identified that there are skill gaps and labour shortages in the construction, retrofit, and maintenance of low-carbon commercial buildings.

The Taskforce is focused on London specifically and is one of a number of initiatives which aim to achieve net zero in the UK by 2050. The Construction Leadership Council recently consulted on PAS 2080 – a new standard for Carbon Management in Buildings and Infrastructure. PAS 2080 has a number of targets aimed at aligning the built environment with the transition to a net zero carbon economy by 2050, including reinforcing the importance of carbon reduction across the life cycle of a building.

The skills required to understand and implement the various standards and requirements to achieve net zero are not yet widely available in the UK. The Taskforce's general suggestion for delivering an industry engagement plan to assist with upskilling for net zero in London is to invest in the current work force, as well as attracting new candidates who are under-represented in the sector (namely women, Black, Asian, and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQI+ community.

According to the Construction Industry Training Board's (CITB) latest report, over a quarter of a million extra construction workers may be needed by 2026 to support the UK's industry growth, a figure set to increase with the focus on net zero by 2050. The industry therefore needs to significantly invest in its current and future workforce in order to ensure a reliable pipeline of qualified personnel. Recruiting the multitudes needed in this regard requires the industry to re-think the archetypal construction worker or professional and ensure their own organisations are set up to attract, nurture, and cultivate a diverse skill base.

The skills gap and labour shortage are threats to our net zero ambitions. The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce will seek to address this urgent challenge.

Our thinking

  • Employment Law & Worker Rights - The Conservative Party’s Manifesto

    Nick Hurley

    Insights

  • Employment Law & Worker Rights - The Liberal Democrats Manifesto

    Nick Hurley

    Insights

  • Michael Powner, Isobel Goodman and Hauwa Ottun write for Law 360 on the Tips Act

    Michael Powner

    In the Press

  • Emily Chalkley writes for The Times on how best to use employee influencers

    Emily Chalkley

    In the Press

  • FT Ignites Europe quotes Anne-Marie Balfour on working hours and potential disputes

    Anne-Marie Balfour

    In the Press

  • DIFC Courts Release 2023 Annual Report

    Peter Smith

    Quick Reads

  • Part-Time Workers' Rights: Understanding Regulations and Legal Protections

    Michael Powner

    Insights

  • Government publishes Tipping Code of Practice ahead of incoming Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

    Michael Powner

    Insights

  • Nick Hurley and Annie Green write for Employee Benefits on the impact of dropping the real living wage pledge

    Nick Hurley

    In the Press

  • Michael Powner writes for Raconteur on AI and automating back-office roles

    Michael Powner

    In the Press

  • Michael Powner and Sophie Rothwell write for Law360 on anti-bias protection

    Michael Powner

    In the Press

  • Computer says No - my prediction of UK border chaos on Wednesday 1 January 2025

    Paul McCarthy

    Quick Reads

  • France: Employment and Labour Law Comparative Guide

    Kim Campion

    Insights

  • Sex discrimination at work

    Michael Powner

    Insights

  • Charles Russell Speechlys grows its rankings in The Legal 500 EMEA directory

    Frédéric Jeannin

    News

  • Employment Podcast: Mental Health in the Workplace

    Anne-Marie Balfour

    Podcasts

  • Sara Wilson and Francesca Heath-Clarke write for People Management on new flexible working request rights

    Francesca Heath-Clarke

    In the Press

  • Race discrimination in the workplace

    Michael Powner

    Insights

  • Use of biometric data and monitoring in the employment context

    Sophie Rothwell

    Insights

  • Charles Russell Speechlys hosts international arbitration event in Dubai

    Peter Smith

    Quick Reads

Back to top