Property News

Construction Sector Experiencing Severe Shortage of Skilled Workers

Em Morley - January 26, 2017

The construction sector is experiencing a severe shortage of skilled workers, warns the findings from the latest State of the Trade survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Although builders report increasing workloads, many are warning that a severe shortage of skilled workers is affecting the construction sector, which will have a direct impact on housebuilding.

Construction Sector Experiencing Severe Shortage of Skilled Workers

CrConstruction Sector Experiencing Severe Shortage of Skilled Workers

The FMB survey for the last quarter found that the net balance for the private new housing sector jumped by 13 percentage points to +15%, remaining in positive territory for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The share of firms reporting a rise in workloads went up to 30% from 26% in the third quarter, while those reporting a decrease in workloads dropped to 15% from 23%.

More than half of firms in the construction sector (55%) experienced no change to their workloads.

However, half of small firms in the construction sector reported difficulties hiring roofers, while the shortage of electricians and plasterers was at a four-year high.

The Chief Executive of the FMB, Brian Berry, comments on the study: “We’ve been experiencing a severe shortage of bricklayers and carpenters for quite some time – these latest statistics show that skills shortages are now seeping into other key trades, such as roofers and plumbers.

“Indeed, of the 15 key trades and occupations we monitor, 40% show skills shortages at their highest point since we started to feel the effects of the skills crisis in 2013, when the industry bounced back post-downturn.

“This growing skills deficit is driving up costs for small firms and, simultaneously, adding to the pressure being felt by soaring material prices linked to the weaker pound.”

He insists: “The Government needs to be taking note of the worsening construction skills shortage now that we know that the UK will be negotiating a hard Brexit. The Prime Minister must ensure that the immigration system that replaces the free movement of people serves key sectors, such as construction and housebuilding.

“If the Government wants the objectives of its Housing White Paper to be realised, it will need to ensure the construction sector has the skilled workers it needs to build these new homes.”

The Government’s Housing White Paper is expected for release by the end of this month. We will keep you posted with the latest property market updates at