EMPLOYMENT in the building industry is declining, according to a report by the Building and Civil Engineering Training Board. However, it is based on a survey compiled before many airport projects were properly under way. A more accurate reflection of the impact on employment of airport core projects will have to await a survey next year. The report took a year to produce. It is based on a month-long survey of Hong Kong's 1,062 building sites conducted in March 1993. Research also included visits to contractors, property firms, design companies, government departments and colleges. The board, part of the Vocational Training Council, said the building industry employed 82,106 people in March 1993, compared with 85,269 in March 1991, a fall of 3.7 per cent. The decline was largely in employment of craftsmen and operatives. Employment in both groups crashed by more than 13 per cent to 27,108 craftsmen and 10,281 operatives. A massive 25.2 per cent increase in employment of senior construction personnel - architects, civil engineers and safety officers - could not halt the overall decline. The board said there were 11,212 of these professionals employed in Hong Kong. Flourishing design activities for airport-related projects and the property boom in China were largely responsible for this increase, the board said. By March 1993, 5,881 people were working on contracts for the airport core programme. The board predicted up to 2,500 trainees would be taken on every year for the next 10 years to help meet an anticipated shortfall of 5,000 construction personnel.