Construction sector workloads rise despite skill shortage

Bricklayers are reported to be in short supply
Bricklayers are reported to be in short supply

A further rise in skill shortages has been reported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in its latest UK Construction Market Survey for the final quarter of 2014.

 

The survey shows that construction workloads rose during Q4 but around 60% of respondents said that either material shortages, skill shortages or financial constraints were impeding further sector growth.

 

The proportion of respondents reporting labour shortages across all of the main trades climbed to an all-time high of 48%, with bricklayers and quantity surveyors in particularly short supply.

 

Over half of respondents (52%) reported that workloads in the commercial sector had grown in Q4, marking the fourth consecutive quarter where this reading has been above 50%. 45% said that they had seen workloads in the private housing sector increase and 40% saw growth in the industrial sector during Q4.

 

Confidence in the construction sector as a whole remains firm however, as RICS Members anticipate growth in workloads of 3.4% in 2015 with jobs in the sector expected to rise by a further 3%.

 

RICS director of built environment professional groups Alan Muse said: “Now that workloads are rising and optimism is growing, the practical challenges are in providing the skilled labour the industry needs and in alleviating the financial constraints, which saw nine months of decreased lending in 2014.

 

“The political challenges in the run-up to the election are around shoring up industry confidence to ensure the framework for effective planning and delivery of projects are in place to create long-term growth that is spread across the UK. This will also enable the investment that the industry needs to raise productivity and encourage new training initiatives.”

 

Image: © Shutterstock

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