A new report by Mace claims that up to 600,000 jobs in the construction sector could be replaced by new technology in the next two decades.

The report, Moving to Industry 4.0: A skills revolution, states that the next industrial revolution will transform the sector, but that thousands of workers will need to be retrained to keep up with the pace of technological change.

It also suggests that UK construction could deliver an extra £25bn annually to the UK economy by 2040, but only if its productivity “gap” is closed.

The report argues that the figures – although only projections – give a sense of the scale of the talent pool that will need to be reskilled to allow the construction sector to move to Industry 4.0 and embrace productivity-improving technologies.

Mace warns that without a major effort to reskill the current workforce and attract a new generation of more tech savvy workers, the construction industry and the UK will lose out on the potential productivity benefits of the next industrial revolution.

Construction has long suffered from a productivity gap, where it has failed to match the productivity gains seen in other UK industries.

Improving productivity in the sector would also have a knock-on effect on UK housebuilding and infrastructure delivery, helping to alleviate the housing shortage and ensuring that major infrastructure projects are more likely to be delivered on-time and within budget.

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