CIOB reports on continuing skills shortages in construction industry

77% of respondents to a recent skills survey had problems recruiting during 2006. The sample in the survey by the Chartered Institute of Building consisted of 623 respondents, 96% of which were members. and working at management level. These results are seen as supporting other existing data that there is a significant skills shortage in the UK construction industry. 72% of respondents expected demand for construction to increase and that they would not be able to recruit enough skilled workers to meet it. 68% felt that the existing workforce was not sufficiently skilled. Recruitment problems were greatest at management and craft/trade levels. The most common reason given is that the construction industry is simply not attractive enough to potential recruits. The number of migrant workers in the industry has increased, according to 91% of respondents to the survey, with most of them coming from eastern Europe. However, the results suggest that migrant workers might not be plugging the skills gap in the area that needs them most. They were most commonly found among labourers, where recruitment appears to be less of an issue, and perceived to be very rare among senior management, where recruitment is seen as very difficult. In contrast, migrant workers are common at craft and trade level, where recruitment is seen as very difficult. Michael Brown, deputy chief executive of CIOB, says, A combination of small numbers leaving university and a buoyant global construction industry have both been factors in the skills shortages we now see. We believe that the recruitment of non-cognate graduates is fundamental to plugging the gap and growing the industry. if we also exploit young people’s potential by giving them meaningful responsibility in their careers, this would aid both retention and development. It is relatively easy to import migrant workers at craft or supervisory levels locally, from eastern Europe, but considerably more difficult to recruit senior managers.
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