June 27, 2016

In this post we’re going to take a look into two headlines surrounding the skills shortage and discuss how we feel each is affecting the construction industry.

1. ‘The skills shortage is driving up the cost of construction’

There have been many reports around this topic, which is why we thought we would start here. The cost of construction (according to a study by Turner & Townsend, a construction consultancy based in Dublin) rose a whopping 6% in 2015, and that’s just in Ireland. We can clearly see a similar trend in London, Manchester, Liverpool and other major cities across the UK, however is this down to the skills shortage alone? We suspect not. That’s not to say the skills shortage has not had a major impact on the cost of construction across the country, but our experts believe that a growing economy and high commercial and residential property investment plans are the real driving force behind this price hike.

2. ‘Skill shortage boosts construction workers pay’

This seems like a bit of a no brainer, it’s a supply and demand thing surely? A study undertaken by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) show that bricklayers in London, as an example, now earn up to £1,000 per week. This study also estimates that workers in the construction industry could (on average) earn up to £34 extra each week compared to 2015. So is the shortage of skilled workers the main driver of this pay increase? We think yes! The CITB estimate that there will be an extra 2,870 jobs created, each year from now until 2020, for bricklayers alone. Compare that to the numbers of bricklayers qualified each year and you’ll clearly see a skills gap appear and of course with any gap, the people that are qualified will be in higher demand.

We think it is safe to say that the skills shortage is having a big impact on the construction industry, whether it’s the cost of construction or the quality of labour this issue must be addressed soon before the skills gap gets any bigger.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you noticed any other impacts the skills shortage has had on the construction industry? Perhaps with Health & Safety? Architecture? Or completion timelines? Do you think that eventually the skills shortage will impact economic growth? We’d love to hear your comments.