The UK construction skills shortage has been well-publicised in recent years and, according to the latest reports, this deficit shows no sign of slowing. In fact, this shortage is now expanding beyond bricklayers and into the roofing and plumbing sectors.

40% of Trades Have the Highest Skills Shortages Since 2013 


The Federation of Master Builders’ (FMB) State of Trade survey for the fourth quarter of 2016 has found that nearly half of construction SMEs reported hiring difficulties when looking for new roofers. Shortages of electricians and roofers were also found to the be the highest in four years. 

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, has said:

‘Of the 15 key trades and occupations we monitor, 40 per cent show skills shortages at their highest point since 2013.’

Despite the skills shortage, the FMB found that there was steady growth in the construction industry during the later three months of 2016, further increasing the demand. In fact, the SME construction sector has seen fifteen consecutive quarters of growth. 

Is Brexit Making Things Worse?


There have been comments regarding the effects of the EU referendum and how the freedom of movement will ensure there are enough workers available for projects. Currently, around 12% of British construction workers are not of UK origin and RIBA claims skills will be their largest factor in the wake of Brexit – despite its members being yet to feel these post-referendum skills shortage effects. 

Finding new home-grown talent is critical to ensure the UK construction industry continues to build at its current pace. 

An in Demand Sector 


Brian Berry has also said that the FMB expects builders’ workloads to grow in the first three months of 2017, so demand will be higher than ever. In the State of Trade Q4 2016 survey, it was reported that Wales has been seeing great results. Wales saw the best results of any of the home nations, with a new balance rising 22% to +15. 

Back in summer 2016, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green told The Telegraph:

“If you work in construction you can expect to be earning £34 a week more than last year, and our data indicates that some employers are increasing pay faster as the competition for skilled workers intensifies.” And bricklayers are being paid up to £25 an hour by building firms who recognise the importance of keeping skilled workers happy. 

Interested in Construction Training?


If you’re considering a career change and are intrigued by the skills gap. Then learning a new skill and joining the construction workforce may be a good idea. 

Discover our construction courses and enrol online today. Whether you’re an experienced plasterer looking to develop your skills or you want a recognised NVQ Level 2 certification in tiling, we have a course for you. 


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