hard hats, hard times: the housebuilding labour shortage

The wider housebuilding and construction industry has seen a net loss of 100,000 workers since 2019. With the 2023 trade skills index highlighting the ongoing vast labour shortage consuming the construction industry. Currently, 937,000 new recruits are needed to tackle the shortfall in the labour market and of this, nearly a quarter of a million must be qualified apprentices. For several reasons, talent has been a long-standing issue for housebuilding and property companies.

Secondly, the costs associated with hiring migrant workers skyrocketed post-Brexit. Companies have faced barriers with visas, more red tape, and huge costs of up to £10,000 to employ a single EU worker.

Thirdly, there are fewer young people considering a career in the industry as COVID-19 led many to rethink their situations and pursue different careers. And yet, this is an industry which is a focal point for our government as the necessity for property and skilled workers in this sector continues to grow year on year.

In fact, there have seldom been more employment opportunities in the UK housebuilding industry than there are at present. The impacts of Brexit, the pandemic, and the dire need for housing across the nation have made professionals extremely valued in the housebuilding and property industry. Companies are looking for a new generation of skilled workers due to the talent shortage driven by the government’s pledge to build 300,000 homes a year until 2030, new infrastructure plans, and the rate of retirement surpassing recruitment.

But it’s more than just providing homes for a country that desperately needs them – it’s also extremely rewarding. The wider housebuilding and property industry is constantly changing, making it a thriving and exhilarating place to work. The skills shortage has pointed the wider housebuilding industry toward a candidate-driven job market and most companies offer great progression, enticing salaries, and opportunities for all levels of experience and qualifications. The current average salary for an apprentice surveyor is £28,171 in the UK and that’s just one path to follow in the sector. There is a niche for everyone whether it’s site management, sales, marketing, planning, or technical. If you’re curious about the kind of roles in the industry and their benchmarked salaries, we encourage you to take a look at our 2024 salary guide.

In addition to salaries, housebuilding apprentices often receive other benefits, such as training programmes that lead to higher qualifications, better pay, and job security after completion. The combination of practical experience, formal education, and the potential for career advancement makes apprenticeships in the housebuilding and property industry appealing to many young people and career switchers. If you’re interested in the current labour shortage in the housebuilding and property industry, stay tuned to our socials for our upcoming report on the topic.