Construction jobs: How can the UK make the sector more attractive?

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A new survey has revealed 73 per cent of the UK feels education facilities do not do enough to raise awareness of construction jobs

There is no doubt recruitment in the construction sector is becoming increasingly difficult.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that recruitment was among one of the major issues expected to impact the industry during 2017. This is despite the fact the industry is enjoying a boom period, seeing the highest level of orders in Q2 last year at some £13.4bn—the biggest upswing since 2009. However, the ongoing skills shortage remains a problem that will continue to mount, particularly with Brexit on the horizon.

Schools and universities need to do more

A new survey carried out by building service provider Novus found 73 per cent of respondents thought schools and universities were not doing enough to raise awareness about the variety of construction jobs available.

However, despite the issues facing the industry Novus Property Solutions’ Head of HR Stuart Cavanagh said the tide was beginning to turn, with things starting to change for the better.

“With more information available to young people, the industry can begin to recruit young talent again and will meet the immense demand for its services,” he said.

“Reiterating the quality and value of a career in construction will make a lasting impression on future generations. Of course, it begins with schools.

“How we intend to make construction appealing is completely dependent on our approach at the earliest stages of a person’s development.

“We have to be informed, understanding and focused – construction may not appeal to some, but it’s clear that the industry is missing out on recruiting some really talented people simply because of a lack of awareness.”

STEM subjects

Novus urged schools and universities to look at their syllabus and course material to ensure they teach STEM subjects, which provide the skills integral to construction.

Furthermore, the industry must understand what young people seek in a career if it is to draw in new talent.

Paul Matthews, managing director at conservatory design specialists Auburn Hill, explained: “A focus on schools and colleges educating students and young people on the opportunities that a career in construction can bring is needed, alongside the construction industry also improving their ties with those facilities.

“In order to attract millennial talent, then, you need to ensure the following; an attractive salary and benefits package, development programme and continuous training.”

The industry, Novus said, must make itself more appealing to a generation of tech-savvy young people and understand what drives them.

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