Skills shortage in construction industry

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Worsening skills shortages in the construction industry could threaten 27,000 projects a year by 2019, a new report has warned.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors issued the prediction after a study found that most surveyors were having recruitment problems because of a shortage of suitably qualified candidates.

A survey of 75,000 members of Rics also revealed that more than two out of five were turning down new business because of the “dearth” of skilled workers.

The problem looks set to peak in five years’ time, when it is estimated that thousands of businesses will be turning down work.

Alan Muse, of RICS, said: “Surveyors play a pivotal role in the delivery of every construction project. Simply put, without surveyors, things don’t get built. That’s why our research is worrying. If so many firms are turning down work due to a lack of available talent, demand for skills will soon far outstrip the supply.

“For many companies, that time is already here, but the next few years look like a real tipping point.

“Construction as an industry looks set to grow, but at this rate it’s very unlikely that we’ll have the capacity or the capability to fulfil planned projects.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Maintaining the supply of skilled workers has been key to getting the country building again.

“That’s why we’ve been working closely with the housebuilding and wider construction sector to ensure it has the talents it needs, including a clear commitment between Government and industry leaders to create tens of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships over the coming years.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the Home Builders Federation said: “The big increase in house building activity has inevitably put pressure on the labour force.

“However, homebuilders are devoting a huge effort and resource to recruit the staff required to ensure supply continues to increase; be that people who left the industry in the downturn, ex-military employees, others who see construction as an increasingly attractive career or young people considering their first job.”