Not Enough Skills but Construction Still Pays The Bills

Added: 27/01/16 Author: Mark Tomlin

As I’m sure you’ll agree, we all try our hardest to do a good job, but don’t you just feel terrible for having your work rewarded by pay from your employer or customers? No? I didn’t think so.

Fortunately, the latest UK construction market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors shows that construction industry wages increased by an average of six per cent in 2015, triple the national average.

However, as is often the case with silver linings, there’s also a cloud. The RICS also found that a lack of skills in the sector is putting some of the government’s biggest infrastructure projects in danger, a sentiment that’s echoed by two thirds of the construction professionals that responded to the survey, who feel that labour shortages are the biggest barrier to growth in the sector.

So what’s the answer? We could launch a nationwide recruitment drive, but over 100,000 new jobs were created last year as a result of the push for new houses, and that doesn’t seem to have helped much.

Alternatively, we could look at training the existing workforce to fulfil the roles we need, as well as improving their skills in areas such as BIM, which will allow the industry as a whole to work more efficiently. As well as allowing projects to be completed more quickly (a topic that I’ve covered once or twice in the past) and allowing the country to get back on track to meet targets, this will improve public opinion of the industry, making it an attractive prospect for new workers.

From manufacturing to the boardroom, there are many aspects to our industry that don’t require the typical hard hat and high-vis jacket. By investing our time and effort into adapting the public’s perception of construction and developing the skills of our current employees, the UK will soon be on its way to becoming a leader in global construction.