Housebuilders must recruit more women and young people to prevent workforce crisis

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New research warns a workforce crisis is on the horizon if housebuilders do not attract women and young people into the sector

A report from the NHBC Foundation has warned to avoid a workplace crisis UK housebuilders must do more to bring new recruits into the workforce. Women and young people hold the key to boosting the number of skilled workers in construction, without which a significant shortfall will be seen.

‘The gender and age profile of the housebuilding sector’ report said there was an overreliance on older men in the industry and suggested the already growing shortage of workers will be exacerbated further following Brexit.

Action must be taken

The housebuilding sector has enjoyed success recently, with the government pressing forward with major housing developments. However, it is estimated some 700,000 more people will be needed to fill jobs as workers retire. Furthermore, an additional 120,000 workers will be needed to fulfil the government’s target of building one million new homes by 2020.

The NHBC Foundation said the sector as well as the government needed to recognise the issue and work to tackle the looming shortfall.

Lack of diversity

The report utilised statistics from the Office of National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey combined with interviews from housebuilding firms. It revealed that only 12 per cent of the UK’s housebuilding workforce is female. Less than four per cent have a skilled trade role.

It also revealed a negative view of the industry, with many women and young people detracted from the sector because of the image of a male-dominated workforce.

The report recommended tackling antiquated recruitment practices to attract more women and young people, as well a focus on careers advice in school. More needs to be done here, the NHBC Foundation said, to raise awareness of the opportunities available.

Commenting on the report, NHBC’s Head of Research and Innovation, Neil Smith, said: “Young people and young women in particular need to be made aware of the wide range of roles in the housebuilding industry. From design to engineering and site management, many careers in house building are rewarding and well paid, offering work in a variety of roles and environments.”

The Offsite Construction Survey

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