Why the UK needs more construction workers

The current skills shortage in the construction industry combined with the difficulty in finding land means that the UK is set to miss its housebuilding target of around 300,000 homes, according to a survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Another survey conducted amongst a number of small and medium-sized manufacturers by the Confederation of British Industry also highlights the huge challenges the industry faces; reporting that the skills shortage could see production held back at its highest level since January 1989. Whilst this is worrying for the economy as the shortage of houses continues to drive prices up, this is good news for construction workers, particularly quantity surveyors and cost engineers, whose skills remain in high demand.

With the ongoing skills gap, the sector is beginning to embrace the efficiencies offered by new technology which can supplement the output of the construction workforce. Inventions, such as drones and 3D printing, are set to be used more than ever in construction throughout 2018. According to the RICS, the lack of skilled workers in the UK is now at its highest level since 2007 and Lewis Johnston (RICS), believes technology has a valuable contribution to make stating that there is a “need to tackle skills shortages in construction and move the sector towards higher-tech, less labour intensive production methods.”

But of course, technology is not the answer to everything. It’s clear that, in order to address the skills shortage, the sector needs to focus more attention and funding on the next generation of UK talent, as Stuart Minchin, Director of Buildings at Matchtech explains:

“The construction industry needs to put an emphasis on developing the UK’s home-grown talent to ensure that it can deliver in a post-Brexit world by focusing on apprenticeships and bringing more young people into the construction sector.”

The demand for construction workers doesn’t stop at the housing crisis. There are a number of major UK projects underway that are in need of skilled construction workers which offer career-defining opportunities, such as the development of Canary Wharf and Southbank, 22 Bishopsgate and the upgrades at Heathrow and London City Airport.

To find out more about the housing crisis and what this means for the construction industry, read the full article from The Telegraph here.

View our construction jobs here.

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