The construction industry is replenishing the UK’s housing stock, building new infrastructure and helping restore the economy, but challenges remain if it is to attract and retain a forward-looking workforce. Money talks, but people count. Construction contributes £92 billion a year to UK economic output. However, to appreciate the true scale of the industry, it pays to think instead in terms of people and jobs, all 2.1 million of them. Driving construction to work, every day, would require 262,500 double-decker buses, full to standing. That would be enough to jam a three-lane motorway, nose-to tail, for almost 600 miles. The same data, however, also explains why construction is concerned about recruitment and retention of talent going forward, making the skills gap a hot topic. Taking growth job markets in sustainability, as an example, construction, for all its environmental and social issues and impacts, is just not a preferred option, says Dawn Love, head of environment and sustainability at Taylor Woodrow. “The simple fact is that sustainability professionals are not considering construction as a viable career choice. The industry still has an image issue and the innovative work we do doesn’t often make the headlines. Most sustainability professionals get into construction by accident,” she says.