New Report Outlines Highways and Transportation Sector Employment Trends


Opportunities and challenges for future workers identified

The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has today released a groundbreaking benchmark report that tracks employment trends and has gathered evidence on key skills issues from a wide selection of the UK’s highways and transportation (H&T) employers.

The report has revealed key insights on the size and make-up of the H&T sector, what skills and training support organisations will need in the future and the latest recruitment opportunities and challenges.

Sue Percy CBE, Chief Executive, CIHT said: “The highways and transportation (H&T) sector is growing and changing, with increasing expectations to provide sustainable transport, reduce carbon emissions, improve health, develop people and communities, and provide employment, yet very little is known about the changing size and structure of the collective workforce and the changing skills needed within the sector.”

“The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has developed this initiative to track employment trends and gather evidence on key skills issues, which involves a biennial survey of a variety of employers from the UK H&T sector.”

The report looked at four main areas and has identified a series of key findings including:
1) UK H&T workforce size and scale
The research has established that around 5% of the UK’s total workforce is employed in the sector, 82% of those workers identify as male and 79% identify as White British. 

2) Recruitment
37% of employers report professional services/design project management roles are hard to fill and academic / public sectors struggle to match the more competitive salaries offered by private organisations, impacting recruitment and retention. 

3) Skills, training, and qualifications
Cost is viewed as the main barrier to further staff training and companies have identified the developing of digital skills as one of the priorities for the future. 

4) Future landscape of the sector
Increased costs due to inflation and government spending cuts are seen as major challenges for the sector but respondent organisations saw opportunities for growth in decarbonisation and digitalisation. The report has identified that to meet sector expansion between 53,000 and 223,000 additional workers may be required over the next five years. 

Sue Percy CBE, Chief Executive, CIHT said: “This report establishes a benchmark upon which future research will build to generate an understanding of employment trends and establish evidence-based insights to aid future planning and development of the sector.”

“As more data is gathered over the coming years, we trust the value of this programme will grow for the employers and individuals working in our sector. CIHT will be using the data behind this report to develop further strands of work and research.”

A summary version of the report is available by contacting e:

Additional information

For this report, CIHT worked with Pye Tait Consulting, an independent research agency. Over 100 employers of different sizes within the H&T sector took part, including private firms, public sector bodies (e.g. local authorities), and academia.

During 2023, CIHT commissioned the first survey, establishing the benchmark upon which future surveys will build to generate an understanding of employment trends and establish evidence-based insights to aid future planning and development of the sector.

The research was undertaken via four main strands:

  • A workshop between Pye Tait Consulting, CIHT staff, and key stakeholders to co-design and finalise the approach to the research and inform the development of the research tools
  • Secondary desk research to explore existing data and reports
  • An online survey of H&T organisations
  • Follow-up in-depth interviews.

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