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Is there a skill shortage in the UK construction industry?

It’s a turbulent time for the UK construction industry. From inflation, rebounding from the pandemic and Brexit to building back better and levelling up, along with the government’s goals to build new homes, there are multiple factors impacting the demand for construction projects up and down the country.

When it comes to the skills required to fulfil that demand, however, there is a serious shortage. With over a quarter million extra construction workers needed by 2027 to fulfil the UK construction industry’s future labour needs, highly skilled tradespeople like bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, as well as civil engineers, architects, and surveyors, are more in demand than ever.

Short-term repercussions & long-term impact

A skill shortage in the construction industry has serious short-term repercussions as it can affect infrastructure delivery, increase costs, and push projects over budget and timeline. In the long term, companies may fold, especially small ones that struggle to compete with larger firms.

There are a few reasons why we find ourselves in this position. For one thing, the UK building industry has an ageing workforce with more skilled tradespeople set to retire in the next few years, leaving gaps in the industry that take time and investment to fill.

To compound the problem, the industry has trouble recruiting young people. Whatever the reasons, whether it’s a lack of interest, competitive salaries, diversity, or stability, fewer and fewer young people are considering careers in construction.

Potential for investment and growth

It’s not all doom and gloom, though, and there are plenty of reasons for hope. Renewable technologies, sustainable energy, the green revolution, and the fourth industrial revolution all bring the potential for investment, growth, and highly skilled, highly rewarding jobs.

Along with the need for sustainable infrastructure and building projects like windfarms, HS2 and energy-efficient homes, the new wave of manufacturing, technology, and construction brings more opportunities for highly-skilled, technical, and digital jobs.

From drones to automation and computing technologies, the UK construction industry has the potential to not only grow to meet new demands but modernise, thus offering attractive new jobs to the next generation.

New opportunities, skills and roles

As the outlook for the construction industry changes, so do the sought-after skills for people looking for jobs, roles, and careers in the sector. Whether that’s soft skills for digital leadership and agile project management to software and IT skills in AI, automation, and Building Information Modelling (BIM), new opportunities are springing up practically every day.

As a leading recruitment company for the UK construction industry, we’re perfectly placed to help you navigate the tumultuous next few years the construction industry faces in this country. Whether you’re looking for a job or to fill a vacancy, at PRG, we can help.

Retaining, recruiting and retraining

Regardless of what happens, to succeed in the UK construction industry, companies will need to invest in their people. Time, resources, energy, and capital will have to be invested into retaining, recruiting, and retraining in order to fill the skills shortage we face. UK construction companies that put their people first will undoubtedly succeed.

If you're looking for a quality temporary or permanent candidate to fill your vacancy, or you’re a candidate looking for your first or next role in this exciting industry, we can help.

If you have any questions about how we can help you fill the skills gap and navigate the next few years facing the UK construction industry, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team in our North West office 01706 615300. We’re happy to help.



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