Survey shows pay effects of skills shortage

August 23, 2018 / Keith Osborne
Survey shows pay effects of skills shortage

Some new research shows how the skills shortage in construction has led to a huge rise in pay for some disciplines and dips for others between 2015 and 2018.

The survey was undertaken by software and service supplier, Engage Technology Partners, and it has found a number of roles that have seen significant increases in hourly rates. The biggest rise is for crawler crane operators (up 82%), followed by elevated work platform (EWP) operators at 77% and electrical testers at 66%. At the bottom of the league are maintenance carpenters (down 27%) and ground/highway labourers (a dip of 19%).

The research findings as the latest Barbour ABI Economic & Construction Market Review suggests the industry is facing a fall in activity, and reports that new construction contracts awarded in June were at a five-year low.

Drey Francis, director at Engage, says of the findings: “The construction industry has long struggled with a skills shortage that has arguably been exacerbated by the stereotype of the industry as ‘male-only’ and the perception that it is not a ‘career of choice’ for most. However, this dearth of talent has led to many employers using financial incentives to source the professionals they need to do the job – hence the stark rise in hourly pay that we’ve noted in recent years.

“Given the current drop in project contracts, though, this increase in pay is certainly a worry for employers who will have to juggle resourcing needs and strict budgets. However, while the likes of crawler crane operators can currently demand higher wages, firms can streamline costs elsewhere – through more efficient administrative reporting and timesheet monitoring systems – to better ensure their business withstands this slow period.”

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