New research highlights impact of skills shortages on construction businesses


NEW research has revealed that 83% of construction businesses say they are being impacted by skills shortages.

The report, by recruitment specialist Search Consultancy, also found that, on average, businesses in the industry are 22% understaffed.

Only engineering and manufacturing (85%), financial services (84%) and healthcare (84%) are faring worse than construction when it comes to sectors affected by skills shortages.

Of those surveyed, 36% of construction businesses claimed that a lack of qualified candidates is the main issue. A further 25% cited an inability to retain staff, while 25% said Brexit was a key contributing factor.

As a result of skills shortages, 39% of construction managers revealed staff have had to work longer hours.

Paul Kynaston, MD of construction & property at Search Consultancy, said, “Having worked in the construction sector for almost 25 years, I have seen skill shortages intensify year on year. The industry has an image problem. Construction work is seen as dangerous, poorly paid and dirty and I think young people are now looking for quicker career movement than it’s traditionally been possible to achieve.

“The reality is something very different. Projects are now diverse and dynamic places to work, often at the cutting edge of engineering technology, and salaries/rates of pay have increased dramatically. Indeed, it is not unusual for skilled blue collar workers in the sector to comfortably earn £50k pa.

“One thing is for sure, if the country is to achieve it’s ambitions of having world leading infrastructure, then we’re going to need the people to design and build it and the construction sector will need to up it’s game to attract the talent of tomorrow.”