Skills shortage in the UK construction sector reaches record high

According to research conducted by the Federation of Master Builders  (FMB) the shortage of workers in bricklaying, surveyor and construction roles has reached a record high in the UK, and unless something is done the industry will not be able to keep up with Government demands for thousands of new homes per year.

The research is part of a quarterly report and found that small and medium sized businesses were struggling more than ever to recruit carpenters  and bricklayers, with the shortage extending to other trades such as plumbers, electricians and plasterers. Chief executive of FMB, Brian Berry, warns that the skills shortage is only going to get worse in the post-Brexit climate and urges the Government to take action to allow the free movement of those with these skills from the EU to keep the industry afloat.

The shortage in the industry comes at a time when the Government has laid down plans for 300,000 new homes in England alone per year; Mr Berry urges the Government that if they want these plans to go ahead they need to do all they can to encourage growth in the industry.

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) reported that 157,000 new workers will be required by 2021 to keep up with demand and that a key way to target new recruits is through apprenticeships. The Government has already committed to providing an additional 3,000,000 apprenticeships across England by 2020, however, early reports have not proven overly promising.

Young people may be put off by a career in construction for many reasons; following the collapse of Carillion earlier in the year it is seen as an uncertain industry, and it is not something actively promoted in many schools. Children need to be exposed by people already in the industry to the broad range of options available to them at a younger age, to increase their interest and understanding.