Skip to main content

Why are Crane Operator jobs in high demand?

Craig Thornton our consultant managing the role
Published on 19 July 2023

Crane operator jobs are the backbone of any heavy lifting or large infrastructure project. Ranging from modest, mobile structures to vast, static cranes that lift over 1000 tonnes – these vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and perform a myriad of difficult tasks on a building site.

It’s not easy operating these mammoth machines. Operators are highly skilled and often have to be trained in safety procedures, construction plant operations, and heavy machine handling.

As a niche area of expertise, there’s no surprise that the need for crane operator jobs are expected to rise over the next decade. Here, we look into why, and where we expect to see the most demand. 

There’s an increase in complex construction projects

Rebounding from Covid-19 has added pace and new investment to the construction industry. After two years of halted projects, the sector is forecasting a boom over the next decade and growth up to 47%. Crane operators play an integral part in construction, from transporting heavy materials like steelwork and concrete, and lifting vertically in tall infrastructure builds.
Pledges of investment from the British government alone mean that crane operator jobs are one of the most coveted in the UK construction market. In their National Infrastructure Policy, £100 billion has been promised to infrastructure projects, including the HS2 railway line and Thames Tideway tunnel, plus 300,000 new homes are planned to be constructed each year.
But not only does an increase in construction investment mean project numbers are growing, but it also means they’re growing in height too. Highly built-up areas are struggling for land capacity, so cities are starting to build upwards. In particular, these high-rise projects require the expertise of Tower Crane operators, which are one of the most in demand roles in the crane operator market currently. 

Renewable energy projects on the rise 

Another sector that crane operators play a huge role in is Renewable Energy, which is also having a moment of intense growth. Heavy lift jobs help move and install gigantic infrastructure - such as energy from waste plants and wind turbines - not only on land, but sea too. For the UK, offshore wind power is one of the most reliable renewable energy sources and a key vehicle being used to reach climate targets. Crawler cranes, all-terrain cranes and lattice boom cranes are essential to the works of an offshore wind farm because of their resilience in challenging terrain, which is why crane operators trained with these specialist machines are being highly sought after.

Aside from the installation and maintenance of offshore windfarms, cranes are playing a vital role in upgrading operational infrastructure to help support the increase the UK’s wind capacity. £160 million has been pledged to upgrade ports and infrastructure across areas in Northern England and Scotland in the UK’s ‘Build Back Greener’ plan, so we expect to see many crane operator jobs in this space in the future.  

Global demand

Crane operator jobs are universal, and demand for them is too. Construction and renewable energy projects across the globe are exploding in all regions, and the global crane market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% by 2028.

The great thing about the crane operator profession is its abundance of international opportunities. With the volume of work across the world and limited talent pool, often big infrastructure projects will hunt for professionals outside of the target country, and support with travel expenses and accommodation packages to help fill their crane operator contracts.

Currently, we’re witnessing a real need for Crane Operators particularly in Northern Europe, such as Sweden, Romania, Netherlands and Germany, as well as the Asia Pacific.

The benefits of being a Crane Operator

Aside from international travel, there are great upsides to the work as a Crane Operator. The role is incredibly hands-on, and you get to play a fundamental role in getting huge infrastructure projects off the ground. You make a massive impact on the site, being a key contact for safety, and with high demand at the moment, you will seldom be out of work. Crane Operator jobs also pay handsomely, with entry level positions starting at a respectable £27,000, moving up to £50,000 for those more experienced.

Get in touch with Quanta

If you are a crane operator that is looking for your next international contract, Quanta are here to help. We are proud to be a global supplier of heavy lift services and are partnered with some of the industry’s biggest names. Check out our available crane operator jobs here or get in touch with one of our consultants today.