A new analysis suggests the ongoing construction skills shortage will become more difficult next year as activity and production levels increase

Skills shortages are expected to worsen next year, it has emerged. According to an analysis by construction and rail recruiter One Way there are still not enough skilled workers entering the industry to meet demand.

Activity rose in the construction sector at the fastest pace in eight months in November due in part to delayed projects resuming following the Brexit vote. While this is good news for the industry, the shortage of skilled workers will undoubtedly make it difficult to keep pace with the growing rate of new projects.

Too few skilled workers entering the sector

Paul Payne, Managing Director and Co-Founder of One Way, said: “It’s been a year of peaks and troughs for the construction industry and while it’s difficult to suggest with too much confidence what will happen over the coming months, our analysis shows that there’s still far too few people operating within and, crucially, entering the field.

“It’s all well and good trying to make do with the current skills in the market but ultimately there will come a point when we need much greater numbers of people considering construction as a viable career choice.

“For example, we’ve launched our own initiative, #GirlsAllowed, which aims to increase the number of women working in the industry and more programmes like this are drastically needed.

“At the moment that’s simply not happening and with productivity rising at its current rate as investors shake off their Brexit fears, something is going to have to change fast.

“There are significant skills shortages across the market in roles like planners, estimators and project managers.

“These are skilled positions that require a considerable amount of training and experience so they can’t just be recruited off the street and placed in roles.

“Construction contributes around 6 per cent of the overall economy and we need to see a longer term strategy for improving talent pipelines across the industry developed before it’s too late.

“We’ve been fortunate that we’re a robust enough organisation to meet the challenges brought on by shortages, but others may not be so lucky.”


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