Skills Gulf could see Construction wages double

Research led by consultant Arcadis has highlighted a significant skills gap in the construction industry, which requires over 400,000 new people each year between now and 2021 to resolve. This equates to one worker joining the industry every 77 seconds to cope with predicted workloads.

The Arcadis Talent Scale predicts the rise of the ‘minted’ workforce. This means that the most in need trades, such as carpenters and joiners, where the demand accounts for nearly one sixth of all national resource requirements, could be earning double. Plumbers, electricians and bricklayers are also seen to be one of the highest in-demand trades, particularly in the housebuilding sector. The report also suggests a need for over 7,400 Civil Engineers, 7,300 Quantity Surveyors and 26,400 Construction Directors.  It must also be noted that this is likely to be further impacted by any eventual Brexit deal, which will further affect this shortage.

James Brice, Arcadis Director of Workforce Planning, said ‘Systemic underinvestment in the nation’s workforce has contributed to a reduction in UK productivity’ he added ‘Construction employment is already down 15% on 2008.’ He also suggests that overcoming this challenge will not be able to be achieved through just education and technology alone. Brice believes that although bringing new talent into the industry will help the skills shortage, the sector will also need to look carefully at those people in other industries to improve its efficiency and that the rights of EU workers that currently operate in Britain’s construction should be secured when a Brexit deal is decided.

Thomas Marples Head of NCA added ‘It is an interesting time for our Apprentices going into the construction industry, where the opportunity to build more successful careers than previously seen in generations before is a real possibility. With rising costs for student loans and universities, parents and young people may now have to consider construction as a serious contender in their career.’


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