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Managing the Construction Skills Shortage

Managing the Construction Skills Shortage

According to the Open University Business Barometer, UK organizations will spend £6.6 billion in 2020 to fill short-term gaps caused by skills shortages. In this article, we look at what a skills shortage in the UK means and what can be done to address the construction skills shortage.

What Does the UK Skills Shortage Mean?

56% of UK organizations have experienced skills shortages this year, and despite the pool of general candidates growing significantly in 2020, employers are still struggling to find the right people.

A skills shortage is more than just the level of qualification required for a candidate. It can also be difficult to find the right person for a job in the required location at the cost an employer is willing to pay or under the terms of employment. In an industry with a shrinking candidate pool, such as construction, getting certain aspects of available jobs right can help bridge the gap.

The Skill Gap in Construction

Construction companies are increasingly concerned about a skills shortage, which is becoming more pressing as time passes. An aging workforce is one of the primary causes of the UK skills shortage, particularly in the construction industry. As more construction workers retire, fewer people enter the industry to replace them.

The UK government has pledged to build 300,000 new homes each year, but PPE specialists Vizwear believe the workforce is insufficient to meet such a lofty goal. The scarcity of qualified candidates will have a direct impact on industry-related projects.

According to CV-Library, a UK job board, construction vacancies increased by 213.4% in the third quarter of 2020. Despite a large number of job postings from the industry, the construction sector saw a 53.9% decrease in applications per vacancy from quarter to quarter.

What Are the Consequences of the Skills Gap in the Construction Sector?

The primary impact of the construction skills shortage is cost. Difficulties in finding workers result in higher recruitment costs, as construction companies must increase their efforts and spending to find workers. As a result, inflated salaries may rise as businesses are forced to overpay to secure scarce skills.

Overpaying for temporary workers is another issue. Companies frequently have no choice but to pay a much higher rate for temporary staff as a stop-gap measure while waiting for a long-term solution. Short-term gaps cost UK businesses an extra £2.2 billion in 2020 compared to 2019. There is also the cost of training workers hired at a lower level to bring them up to the desired level of qualification.

For construction companies, declining employment has significant effects, but accepting contracts they are later unable to fulfill can harm their standing in the sector. Construction projects and construction companies may suffer from the skills shortage if they run over schedule and over budget.

What can be done to address the lack of skills?

The issue in the construction industry with a growing population is not the number of people looking for work. The solution to the construction skills shortage is to make a career in the industry appealing. To address the UK construction skills shortage, perceptions of the industry must be changed.

For starters, many young people are unaware of the wide range of jobs available in the construction industry. Educating young people about the numerous opportunities and career paths available will encourage them to pursue a career in the industry. With careers in digital technology becoming more popular among young people, modernizing construction techniques will increase the appeal for young people who prioritize forward-thinking and long-term roles when choosing a career path.

Construction also has a reputation for being an industry dominated by middle-aged white men, which is statistically correct. The construction skills shortage may be due, in part, to some demographics believing that the industry is not for them. Diversifying the workforce will help to stop limiting the types of people who typically enter the industry by broadening the talent pool for recruitment. 

Pushing back against the perception that construction is a “boys’ club” and challenging gender inequality in construction will make the industry more appealing to women, resulting in a significant increase in the number of people interested in a career in construction.

Finding potential employees is a difficult task. Collaboration is essential when working at the grassroots level with local communities to entice people to pursue careers in the sector. Education and schooling are also important in encouraging students to pursue a career in construction from an early age. According to the Open University, 48% of UK employers believe apprenticeships and work-based learning initiatives will be critical to closing the skills gap.

Here, re-education is also crucial in the form of upskilling current employees to increase the breadth of their skill sets. Making the most of their personnel is a great opportunity for construction companies to invest time and resources in their present staff. While bringing in new employees is important, it’s also important to keep in mind the existing workforce. Enhancing the training possibilities for current employees benefits the business and gives individuals who were employed at lesser levels access to new chances.

Since growth is crucial to people when deciding on a career path, this investment in personnel is a wonderful selling point for recruiting new hires. More people will enter the industry if they perceive a clear path for promotion and a commitment from construction companies to the advancement of workers.

How Does DSS Help?

Young people also require more information about the types of jobs available in construction. The government should do more to encourage people to participate in apprenticeship programs or vocational training programs that provide qualifications for working in the industry.

Companies looking for skilled workers in the UK can also contact a reputable global recruitment agency. Dynamic Staffing Services recruiters have years of experience working with businesses in your industry so they can match your needs with potential employees based on their skill sets, experience levels, and other factors.

If you have any questions about where to begin or how much it will cost to hire skilled foreign workers, please contact us at +91-11-40410000 or enquiry@dss-hr.com.

About the author

Headquartered in Dubai, with offices in 13 countries spread across UK, Europe, Middle East and South Asia, Dynamic Staffing Services is an industry leader within its niche space of international recruitment. Over the last 45 years, DSS has successfully places over 450 000 candidates in the engineering, healthcare, hospitality, IT and manufacturing sector. Please visit us as www.dss-hr.com to learn more about us. We pride ourselves in being an ethical recruitment services provider following the most stringiest regulations towards code of conduct. We recruit talent from Eastern Europe, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Africa, Egypt, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia among other nationalities and place them into 24+ countries. Each year we give jobs to about 12 000 candidates.

A part of the 1500+ people strong Dynamic group, our sister company Dynamic World Education Community focuses on Study Abroad, by helping students find the right education (www.dynamicwec.net), Dynamic immigration focuses on providing immigration services (https://www.dss-hr.com/canada) to families wanting to move to Canada & Altudo focuses on software development and enhancing digital customer experiences (https://www.altudo.co )

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