UK Commercial Archaeology will not see an infrastructure jobs boom

There will not be the predicted 25-64% increase in commercial archaeology jobs because of large infrastructure projects and a weakening private construction sector could result in job losses or slow job growth over the next few years. These are the results of new research conducted by Landward Research Ltd. Now available for free in this White Paper: Have We Reached Peak Archaeologists?

In 2016 a report, the National Infrastructure Development and Capacity 2015-33: An Assessment (NIDC) was published which predicted that UK commercial archaeology would need to increase its workforce by 25 and 64% to meet the demand of up coming infrastructure projects.Upon reviewing the data we found an error which led to an over estimation of future spending on infrastructure – there will not be a significant increase in job demand.

Further work to meet the valuable goals of the NIDC, forward planning of job demand, found that roughly two-thirds of construction funding follows unpredictable boom and bust patterns, which makes future demand modelling impossible. Moreover, it appears that we are currently in a boom and possibly the beginning of a bust, at least slowed down construction growth.

Figure 10 from the white paper which shows the ratio of median house price to median annual earnings, England and Wales, 1997 to 2016. Housing is now less affordable in England than it was before the Great Recession – a bad sign that a bubble is growing or about to pop.

Landward Research Ltd is a social enterprise that focuses on capacity building in the heritage sector from conducting research into training needs to the production of e-learning courses. If you are interested in knowing more about the future demands for your skills and workforce please contact us to find out how our skills can help you prepare for the future. enquiries@landward.eu