Solutions to the current labour and skills shortage crisis, supporting the future of the industry

Solutions to solving the labour and skills shortage crisis relies heavily on businesses and the government investing in the right training and the right skills, providing opportunities and guaranteed work for those interested in a construction related career.

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The construction industry generates almost £90bn annually and employs over 2.93 people

With 22% of the workforce in the industry being over the age of 55, this will lead to an increased rate of retirement

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Approximately a fifth of vacancies in the construction industry are hard to fill with employers unable to recruit those with the right skills, qualifications or experience, which is expected to rise further.

Showcasing a better and positive image of the industry could attract the right potential workers, the current image has a detrimental effect on construction firms, affecting their ability to recruit or retain those with the relevant skills. The perception of the construction industry is being outdoors, getting dirty and portrayed as suited towards young people not wanting to get into college or university.

With this being said, there is a poor pipeline of young people venturing into the world of construction, with more initiatives such as the KickStart Scheme needed to tackle the crisis.

Risks that the construction industry will face

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The primary effect of the skills shortage in construction is cost. Difficulties in sourcing staff comes with increased recruitment costs, as construction companies have to increase their efforts and spend to try and find workers. In turn, this can mean a rise in inflated salaries, as businesses need to overpay to secure skills that are in short supply.

Paying over the odds for staff is also an issue in temporary staffing situations. While waiting for a long-term solution, companies often have no choice but to pay a much higher rate for temporary staff as a stop-gap. Short-term gaps have cost UK organisations an additional £2.2 billion in 2020 versus 2019. There is also the associated cost of training workers hired at a lower level to bring them up to the desired level of qualification.

Turning down work has major consequences for construction companies, but accepting contracts they are then unable to fulfil has repercussions to their reputation in the industry. The skills shortage in construction can result in a project going over time and over budget, so both projects and construction companies are affected.

Taking all into account, if investment in skills and training is not implemented at the right level, costs will rise with construction projects, having a detrimental effect on both construction companies and contract or project management.

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