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Skills Shortage in Construction – What Can be Done?

7th August 2018

There is a skills shortage in construction due to the demand. Recent figures from the purchasing managers’ index show the Construction industry has grown at the fastest rate in over a year. House Building in particular has grown at its fastest rate since December 2015.

Obviously growth and rising demand is good for those of us who work within the Construction sector. However, in order to cope with this growth & demand, we need skilled workers. What can be done about the lack of skilled Construction workers available?

The Construction Skills Shortage

Reports indicate that the Construction sector is currently in the midst of a skills shortage. This is increasing the cost of labour and also limiting Construction activity. On top of this current shortage of skilled workers, the CIOB has recently reported that the Construction industry will need to recruit another 157000 people by 2021 in order to keep up with the demand. So what’s the solution?

Is the Answer Apprenticeships?

In April 2017, the government introduced changes in apprenticeship funding. This means that new apprenticeship funding would come from an apprenticeship levy. The levy applies to every employer with a wage bill of £3m and over, and is set at 0.5% of an employer’s wage bill. All contributions to the levy are paid into an employer’s online digital apprenticeship account. The Govermment also contributes a 10% top up. By 2020, all employers will be able to use the service to pay for apprenticeships.

However, even with this new funding and the Government committing to an additional 3, 000,000 apprenticeships (across all industries) by 2020, the Government announced a fall of 26% in the number of apprenticeships taken up within the Construction industry within the first quarter of 2018. What else can be done?

Making a Career in Construction Attractive

skills shortageIt’s important that young people see the value and benefits of a career in Construction at school age. In 2017 more young people said they would consider a career in construction compared to 2016

However, there is still a long way to go to convince young women that a career in Construction is attractive. In 2017, only 34% of females said they would consider a career in Construction. whereas, 67% of males said they would consider a career in construction.

So there is a still a way to go to showcase the value of a career in Construction, particularly to young females.

Changes in Methods of Build

Another option to explore is new methods of construction. Several House Builders, including Persimmon (Space 4), have invested in modular construction methods by creating their own off site manufacturing factory. In Persimmon’s case, Space 4 makes pre-fab timber frames for approximately 40% of all Persimmon’s houses.

Whilst this does involve a larger initial investment, it only requires a fraction of the labour that traditional construction does. This makes off site modular construction a viable option to explore when looking to tackle the issue of the skills shortage.

The construction skills shortage is also having an impact on us Recruitment Agencies! We are always looking for skilled workers within the Construction industry, recruiting for both temporary & interim positions and permanent opportunities.

So if you are looking for a new position, take a look at our live vacancies here. If you know someone who is looking for a new permanent position, Bromak are offering a referral scheme.If you refer someone to us and we place them in a permanent position, you could receive a £250 gift voucher (T&Cs apply).


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