Over the last month or so I keep seeing reports from various organisations which talk about the immediate and future shortage of skilled labour in the UK’s construction sector.
I am not going to summarise the various reports but will just highlight the following:
we have yet to recover fully the 400,000 construction jobs which were lost in the Great Recession;
to meet the demand implied from the UK Government’s policies and announcements, more than 230,000 new recruits will be needed into the industry between 2016-20,
and this doesn’t take into account the 700,000 existing workers who are due to retire over the next 10 years.
A report from the RICS warned that the skills shortage in the construction industry could threaten 27,000 projects a year by 2019, and that most surveying firms were having recruitment problems because of a lack of suitability qualified candidates.
These skills shortages include skilled trades and crafts, as well as in the various professions.
On top of this we have seen reports about wide-spread defects and sub-standard work in our new buildings (for example, the schools which have fallen down in Scotland; and one of the large house builders having to set aside millions of £s to rectify defects). A survey from The National House Building Council (NHBC) showed that 98% of new-home buyers who responded reported defects and a quarter of those had identified more than 16.
Taken together, I can’t help thinking that this highlights just how much the UK construction industry has been failed by its leaders and professional institutions over the last 20 to 30 years years.