As many as 76,000 workers are likely to lose their job in the industry this year, according to a report.
Training group ConstructionSkills said UK construction output will shrink by 1% during 2011, adding to the already huge problems created by the recession in the past few years.
However, the group said 200,000 new workers are desperately needed if planned building work is to be completed. It said the Government and builders should ready themselves for greater productivity in the industry.
Spokeswoman Judy Lowe said: “The next couple of years will be really tough for the industry but there are signs of longer-term confidence returning to the market. Major infrastructure investment has been announced, particularly in rail and water.
“Businesses need to retain their competitive edge, maybe looking at the Green Deal and the estimated 26M homes in need of refurbishment.”