The latest State of Trade Survey, conducted by members of BuildUK in association with Glenigan, has highlighted a deepening skills crisis which is impeding industry growth within the UK construction market.
The industry is suffering predominantly from a shortage of white collar staff, with managers being particularly sought after and technical supervisors proving very difficult to recruit.
The survey attributed the skills shortage down the following reasons:
- Lack of applicants with their required skills (53%)
- Lack of experience (53%)
- Lack of qualifications (48%)
The above is increasing the costs of labour – 45% of respondents said their labour costs had increased compared to the last quarter, and 60% said their labour costs had increased from the same time last year.
A lack of needed skills is having a knock-on effect on companies’ business performance, with 16% of respondents reporting a lack of staff had resulted in the late completion of work, and 12% reporting they had been unable to bid for work during the last quarter.
BuildUK’s Chieft Executive, Suzannah Nichol, said: “Employers are experiencing both rising material and labour costs as they head towards maximum capacity and this continues to highlight difficulties in recruiting appropriate skills at all levels.
Despite this, the outlook remains positive regarding future prospects. 40% anticipated an increase in workloads in the next quarter and 56% expect growth over the next 12 months.