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Solving the Construction Skills Shortage

16/08/17
Posted by: Christopher Ruddick

Solving the Construction Skills Shortage

Construction forms a major backbone of the UK Economy generating over 5% of GDP, whilst it represents approximately 10% of UK employment.

So, what are the problems facing the sector? And, more importantly what are the ways that the acute situation can be resolved?

The first problem is an ageing construction workforce, with many construction workers retiring or nearing retirement and the current pipeline of “replacements” not enough to support the sector.

Current figures reveal that the construction sector has:

  • 22% of the workforce over 50
  • 15% are over 60%

Another issue is the image of the construction sector with few people aware of the long-term and diverse career that can be gained within the industry. There is, unfortunately, still the stigma of construction being an outdoor, hands on, dirty job, and not suitable for those that can get into Higher Education.

In addition to this, some parents would prefer to push their children to careers of medicine, law or finance that have a greater background of traditional standing, more so than construction. What is forgotten is the construction sector requires bright minds to engineer, project manage, survey and plan what are often complex, exciting projects.

One way to increase the flow of young minds into the construction industry would be to promote apprenticeships or “on the job training” for young people. However, only 1% of employers has looked to take on an apprentice or inexperienced staff member, this all whilst the UK Government has put more than £1 billion into such development training schemes.

Unfortunately, the construction sector is failing to provide high levels of training when compared to some other sectors offering extensive schemes of development. Even if an apprentice or inexperienced team member is lucky enough to find a position many companies are seeking short-term value for money, rather than investing in and helping to plan for the future. This has simply accelerated the problem, has led to alienated young people pushing them away from the sector.

There are clearly a number of things the construction sector can do to help avoid a more acute skills crisis within the sector. The first is improving the image of the sector ensuring that more able, young people view the industry as a sector that has many diverse roles, requiring innovative solutions, and not just one about getting down and dirty on site with a shovel in their hands.

Furthermore, more employers need to tap into the pool of young people wanting careers and support their development to turn them into long term construction workers who may become tomorrow’s Project Directors!

After all that, why not Search & Apply Today for your next Construction/Project Management Role or Send your CV to us now.  Changing your role could give you an opportunity to improve the image of the sector and support the future young people in the Construction Sector! Do not forget to follow TDM on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter.