Construction industry damaged by lack of skilled workers

Last month, Commercial and Residential Development Consultant Richard Carr spoke of the country’s lack of skilled construction workers and this a week a new report has backed up his fears.

27,000 projects in doubt

Richard Carr Construction Lack of workers

A lack of skilled workers is seriously affecting the construction industry

In January, Richard Carr blogged on the construction industry’s positive outlook, but warned that a shortage of skills could prevent sector growth.

In a report issued by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on February 9, 2015 it found that many surveyors were suffering with recruitment problems because of a shortage of suitably qualified candidates.

75,000 members of RICS were questioned and arguably the direst insight to come from it was that the lack of skills could threaten 27,000 projects a year by 2019.

Lack of skills stunting growth

Worryingly, two of out five members were turning away new business because of the “dearth” of skilled workers. At a time when the government is making positive steps to try and get the country building again, this report would suggest that we have taken two steps back.

The report revealed that the problem is set to peak in five years’ time, when it’s estimated that thousands of businesses will be turning down work.

The industry needs skilled surveyors

Surveyors are integral to the industry, without them nothing would ever get built. The current shortage needs to be addressed as soon as possible, believes Alan Muse of RICS.

“Surveyors play a pivotal role in the delivery of every construction project. Simply put, without surveyors, things don’t get built.

“That’s why our research is worrying. If so many firms are turning down work due to a lack of available talent, demand for skills will soon far outstrip the supply.

“For many companies, that time is already here, but the next few years look like a real tipping point. Construction as an industry looks set to grow, but at this rate it’s very unlikely that we’ll have the capacity or the capability to fulfil planned projects.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Maintaining the supply of skilled workers has been key to getting the country building again.

“That’s why we’ve been working closely with the housebuilding and wider construction sector to ensure it has the talents it needs, including a clear commitment between Government and industry leaders to create tens of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships over the coming years.”

Simple economics is supply and demand

Richard Carr believes that youngsters are being taught unnecessary skills during the final years of their education.

He believes the solution is to introduce more courses that are tailored to the construction industry that include on-site work experience opportunities. If students can see a clear pathway, it makes the course more desirable.

As a result of the shortages, it’s causing the continued upward spiral of construction costs. Richard believes we should be welcoming as many Eastern Europeans as possible into the UK, as the British youth do not want to be builders.

We have got Ed Miliband going on about ‘Controlled Rents’, but not grasping the real issue and that is the cost of labour, which in turn reflects in new house prices.

Simple economics is supply and demand.

With regard to the lack of qualified Surveyors, he is a little surprised, but then how cool is it to tell someone you are a surveyor, and the youth of today are all about image – sad, but true!

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