Earlier this year, a survey was launched by the Highways Sector Council (HSC) Future Leaders Group to help understand how to make highways a career of choice. The survey aim was to better understand how the sector can continue to attract skilled candidates from all backgrounds, understand future skills required and retain its existing talent. Over 1,000 individuals responded from the public and private sector across the UK in both the strategic and local road networks, covering over 200 roles at every level.

Today the HSC has released the report and its findings:

Over two thirds of the respondents would recommend highways as a career of choice listing career opportunity, making a difference, problem solving and satisfaction of seeing your work as the top reasons for working in the sector.

  • 56% were male
  • 39% were female*
  • 47% joined mid-career

In addition, the report highlights:

  • There is a lack of awareness of careers available across the sector irrespective of which part of the sector people join or work in
  • There is a need to improve the collective brand image for highways
  • Cross transferability of skills across the sector and transport
  • A need to attract and retain diversity in all respects for skills today and for the future
  • A lack of awareness of what sector wide training is available to support our carbon and digital agenda

The survey brought the industry together as one and highlights that across local, central government or the private sector there is:

  • High satisfaction of working in highways – because it matters to people’s lives every day.
  • There is so much more to a career in highways than many have thought on entry
  • The sector– early career, mid-career, or career change – needs to unite to achieve our goals – societal, environmental, and economic.

Therefore, the HSC in partnership with others industry stakeholders is hosting several workshops across the UK for the wider industry to input into our plans and priorities. The workshops will range from CEO through to apprentice to make sure we canvas the views at every level across the sector. The workshops will commence in January 2023 and will span the country as we seek to engage our workforce in shaping highways as a career of choice.

To register to attend one of workshops, please click here

For more information about the Highways Sector Council (HSC) and to download the report click here

Anna Delvecchio, Founding Member of the HSC said: “I would like to thank everybody who participated in the survey and the future leader’s group for their continued contribution over the last 12 months. We now have a credible baseline to work with. We can absolutely deliver a campaign making highways a career of choice, but we need to work in greater collaboration as a sector with a stronger partnership between the public and private sector, our clients, and the Department for Transport to ensure our sector flourishes in growth and jobs.”

Elliot Shaw, National Highways Chief Customer and Strategy Officer said: “These survey results underline the importance of showcasing the opportunities that exist across our sector. Our people take huge satisfaction from knowing that the work they do matters to people’s lives day in day out, but we need to continue to grow and diversify our sector if we are to achieve our societal, environmental and economic goals. Greater collaboration will be integral to our success and the Highways Sector Council’s role will be crucial.”

Matthew Eglinton, Department for Transport Head of Highways Policy added: “The Department is supportive of HSC’s ‘Making Highways a Career of Choice’ – drawing out the strengths and weaknesses of working in the highway sector is critical to establishing what needs to be done to encourage a younger, more diverse workforce. “The campaign to address the skills gap in the highways sector and raise the profile of highways to make it a ‘career of choice’ is well aligned with overall Government objectives in increasing skills across the country.”

Sue Percy, CIHT’s CEO and member of the HSC said: “I welcome this survey which highlights keys opportunities, as well as the challenges, for the sector to attract and retain a diverse and skilled workforce now and in the future. The findings build on work CIHT is also doing on skills, EDI and careers and I look forward to collaborating with the HSC and key partners to deliver highways as a career of choice”.