Britain must recruit 400,000 new workers each year to meet the nation’s construction needs, according to research from Arcadis. This equates to one every 77 seconds, independent of any potential Brexit effect.
James Bryce, Director of Strategic Workforce Planning, UK Leadership & Management for Arcadis, said, “When it comes to construction, it is sadly not as simple as merely training more people or relying on technology, automation and robotics. Getting the right people in the right places to do the right jobs is infinitely more complex than many give credit.”
Many occupations have yet to recover from the blow they experienced in the wake of the financial crisis and the skills gap is becoming ever more acute. On a regional basis, the south east has the greatest additional need in house building, while London will need to employ more people in the infrastructure sector than any other area of the UK.
“If Britain is going to achieve its aims of building the housing, roads and rail that it needs to prosper the issue of skills needs to be resolved extremely quickly,” said Bryce. “However, overcoming the skills shortfall in a short period of time cannot be wholly achieved through education and technologies alone.
“In the near term, construction will need to look to recruit from other industries, dramatically reduce waste and improve inefficiency as well as increase supervision to increase productivity.
“On top of this, for quicker impact, the government can help by looking to secure the rights of EU workers currently operating in British construction, greatly simplifying the visa system and minimise the tax burden on workers and business.”
A more targeted approach to recruitment is also needed. In April, Show House will be launching an online jobs site for housebuilders and suppliers, giving the industry its most relevant platform to recruit staff across the skill sets and disciplines.
As well as the latest jobs, the recruitment platform will inform and engage the next generation of industry talent, encouraging young people into housebuilding and highlighting the wealth of opportunities in the sector, be it for apprentices, school-leavers, graduates, or as a career change.