Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UK construction sector facing serious skills shortage

The construction sector in Great Britain is suffering a skills shortage despite the fact that fewer offices and homes are being built in the wake of the economic crisis, according to a new study from the Chartered Institute of Building.

Construction recruiters are being encouraged to take into account the results of CIOB's annual research as many construction industry insiders believe that the loss of skilled workers will make it much more difficult for the industry as a whole to recover in the long haul.

77 percent of the respondents believe that there is a skills shortage in the construction sector and 78 percent of them think that this will have a negative effect on the building industry once the economy improves.

CIOB’s study emphasises the need for people in the UK to take up skilled construction jobs and for the construction professionals who have been forced by the recession to leave the sector to return once recruitment increases again.

54 percent of the respondents said that their companies have had to make redundancies and 67 percent expect the demand for construction to decrease in 2009/10.

Not enough construction firms are employing apprentices, according to the survey. Only 37 percent of those polled said that their organisations were doing so, while 76 percent of the respondents think that apprenticeships ought to be mandatory on public projects.

CIOB Deputy Chief Executive Michael Brown said: "Construction has been notoriously bad at attracting students and other new entrants. This has exasperated the industry’s long-term skills development. There is no denying the importance of graduate and apprentice recruitment as these employees represent the future of the industry."

“There is a danger that once demand rises and recruitment increases there will be a mass of previously skilled workers who choose not to return to the industry having opted for other careers. The industry has never fully recovered from the recession in the 90's, particularly at the management and senior management level,” he added.


  1. I myself as a carpenter felt a bit disillusioned after being thrown on the scrap heap in 2008 when the recession hit and now there is a massive skills shortage because many like me have retrained to do other jobs.
    Young people see the construction industry as hard work and it is and the conditions can be bad and dangerous.

    We also have seen an improvement in the construction industry in the UK since the large recession hit in 2008 which virtually wiped out us as contractors and we are only now seeing growth again.
    I have blogged about the situation in the UK and found some interesting solutions to the problems of contractors being out of work.

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