Tackling the Skills Shortage in the Construction Industry

Tackling the Skills Shortage in the Construction Industry

14th August 2017

Here at Safety Fabrications we’ve discussed the skills shortage that the UK construction industry is experiencing several times in the past, making sure our readers are kept fully informed on issues that affect our industry as a whole.  A recent analysis by a construction and railway consultancy has revealed that the skills shortage will only be tackled if employers take a proactive approach and go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to attracting new talent into the construction industry.  The study identified three key issues that need to be dealt with in order to effect a tangible improvement:

Positive Public Promotion – not many people outside of the construction industry are aware of the potential a career in construction offers.  The main stereotype is that a job in this sector means working in cold, muddy condition outdoors, digging a ditch!  Nothing could be further from the truth, however.  For example, the skills held by a quantity surveyor are similar to those of an accountant but, rather than being stuck behind a desk, quantity surveyors get the chance to work on exciting major infrastructure and construction projects.  We need to make the general public aware of the diversity of work available and the interesting projects that are being undertaken.

Improve Gender Diversity – we need to attract more female workers into the industry.  Currently, almost half of the workforce is being discouraged from working in what is usually seen as a traditionally male-dominated industry and this needs to change in order for the sector as a whole to be seen as more inclusive.  No other mainstream industry has such a lack of diversity and this lack is a major factor that contributes to a growing skills shortage.  The #GirlsAllowed programme was an initiative designed to raise awareness within the industry by encouraging girls to take up an apprenticeship in a construction role.

Widen Talent Pipelines into Construction – this will only be achieved by improving the image of the industry as a whole (as stated in our first point, Positive Public Promotion).  At present, very few young people are actively seeking to make a career in construction.  In order to address this problem, construction companies need to be proactive, going into schools and colleges to speak to young people about the potential that a career in construction holds for them. 

Industry experts estimate that a massive 27,000 projects will suffer over the next five years as a result of this burgeoning skills shortage and the lack of suitably qualified workers needs to be addressed in order for the construction sector here in the UK to remain competitive.  While government and industry initiatives can go a long way towards improving the situation, it’s up to companies working within the sector to step up to the plate and play their part in making the construction industry an attractive option for school leavers.