The construction skills shortage has been a hot topic throughout 2017 and it seems that it is continuing throughout 2018. As of now the skills shortage in construction has hit a record high. In response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s Interim report, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said the industry requires a serious delivery plan in place for post-Brexit skills and immigration policy.
Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee’s Interim update, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Migration Advisory Committee’s Interim update has set out the concerns and evidence which construction and a wide range of industries have presented.”
In their quarterly report on the current state of the construction industry, the FMB found that those that are affected are finding it particularly hard to recruit carpenters and bricklayers, as well has a huge shortage for skilled electricians, plumbers, and plasterers.
With the Government’s promise of building 300,000 new homes a year in England alone. The questions of “Who will build all of this?” stands. With the increasing demand for skilled workers, the wages are increasing, and the cost of materials are at a new high. This is clearly causing a negative effect on the construction companies dealing with this issue.
With Carillion recently announcing its liquidation, a move that affected the jobs of thousands of employees, it is surprising that this has not been an issue in regard to the skills shortage saga. The FMB confirmed that it was currently co-operating with the Construction Industry Training Board as well as the Department for Work and Pensions to place former Carillion employees with small construction firms needing skilled workers.
So, what can be done to combat this skills shortage? I think there may be some simple things that can be tackled to cut the skills shortage.
Gender diversity is a hot topic at the moment in all ways imaginable. However, it may be something that could really help bridge the skills gap. Making the industry much more inclusive could mean more women in the trade. This would encourage a whole new talent pool of candidates that could ultimately begin to mend the current issues.
Making construction a bit more well known could really boost the industry. Currently the construction industry isn’t ever really put out there, especially on the mainstream media. It is a possibility that if construction was portrayed better across all avenues, this could help improve this skills shortage. Construction is so important to help our economy grow; without construction workers there will be no more new homes, or new educational buildings or hospitals. It is something that needs to be considered.
Education on the industry in schools could help inspire the new generations of workers. Showing young people the choices they have within the industry could really push them to take the vocational route and undertake apprenticeships in the trades currently seeing themselves in a skills shortage. Whilst not a short term fix, this could prove a long term solution.
What do you think? Are you a construction worker? Do you agree with the skills shortage saga? Tweet us at @HighfieldREC to let us know.