Recruiters have been reporting for a long time that there is a dearth in skilled candidates for a variety of roles. Skills and competence are critical for the construction industry's future, and various factors have accelerated the sector's skills shortage to breaking point. These include workforce diversity, an ageing workforce, training and 'green' targets.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of vacancies in UK construction hit 50,000 in the third quarter of 2022, that’s the highest in ten years! The blame sits squarely on the shoulders of the attractiveness and perceived lack of diversity of the sector (UK construction). But these perceptions are changing, albeit slowly. We’ve written before on this blog about how casting the recruitment net far and wide, across multiple channels, will ensure that the message reaches a broader more diverse audience, including the younger generation. Rewind ten or so years and the 2011 Census highlighted that 1 in 5 UK-born construction workers were over 55. These very workers will have reached retirement age in the last decade, many of which will have not been replaced. The Construction Skills Network reports that over a quarter of a million extra construction workers may be needed by 2026!
The need for training and upskilling demands that the construction sector has adequate numbers of teachers, trainers, lecturers, assessors and end-point assessors (EPA). The challenge now is to upskill those educators in new methods, modern construction techniques and green skills and to ensure the curriculum meets the demands of employers. This demand does however place financial burden on colleges as they expand their courses to meet new digital SMART technologies and these modern methods, including green skills. Government 'green' targets have also put additional skills demands on the industry.
It’s been over a decade since industry leaders, employers, associations, and government bodies have warned about the construction industry's impending skills crisis. Now the tide appears to be turning, as recruiters we’re ready and waiting for the flood.