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ECSO Report: Improving the human capital basis

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ECSO Report: Improving the human capital basis

Shutterstock / gui jun peng

This Analytical Report, elaborated by the  European Construction Sector Observatory (ECSO), aims to draw a snapshot of the current skills situation in the construction sector in the EU-28, in the context of Construction 2020, the strategic policy agenda for the construction sector in Europe, specifically focusing on skills under the Thematic Objective 2 “Improving the human-capital basis of the construction sector”.


More specifically:


  • Chapter 2 of the report provides a high level analysis of the workforce in the sector, focusing on the quantitative analysis of the population, employment and education data.
  • Chapter 3 provides an analysis of the main drivers of skills in construction, namely energy efficiency and digitalisation trends, as well as their impact on skills development.
  • Chapter 4 provides an overview of the obstacles for skills in construction, zooming at the issues of image of the sector, structural barriers to human resources development, lack of VET and mobility.
  • Chapter 5 focuses on the main policy responses to the skills barriers and drivers in the EU, highlighting best practices and lessons learned from various national and regional programmes.




According to the report, the coming years represent a critical turnaround phase for the European construction sector, which is now more than ever being faced with major challenges but also opportunities to transform, adapt and consequently reach enhanced levels of growth and profitability. The various obstacles that are currently undermining the sector from the perspective of employment and skills originate from a multitude of factors, including demographic pressures (the ageing population and ensuing decline of the working-age group), the poor image of the sector, which results in a reduced appeal particularly to the younger generation, as well as intrinsic factors that characterise the industry, specifically its cyclical nature, low predictability and structural fragmentation. Combined, these have resulted in a chronic underinvestment in the training of the human capital basis of the sector, therefore leading to a recognised shortage of skills.


On the other hand, the rise of sustainable construction and energy efficiency, as well as the progressive integration of digital technologies in the building process, are offering the sector a wealth of opportunities to train and increase the level of skills of the workforce, so as to reap the benefits associated with them. In this respect, a balanced combination of technical and soft skills will be crucial, including management, planning, numeracy and communication skills, as well as ICT, digital, renewable energy and energy efficiency skills.


The report provides several recommendations in order to overcome the obstacles and take full advantage of the opportunities opened up by the discussed drivers.



To download the report, please visit the relevant ECSO webpage at the link below.