The Office for National Statistics have recently reported that, in September, the number of job vacancies for skilled tradespeople reached beyond the 40,000 mark – for the first time since records began.
Construction firms across the UK are having to advertise en masse for more tradespeople, as they are simply running out. Battling material shortages and delays, as well as a dwindling workforce, firms are putting out the call for more skilled workers to carry out the rising demand for construction work.
But despite rising salaries, higher rates, and plenty of work opportunities, they’re having a hard time finding enough people to get the job done. And September’s heights of demand has followed us to November, with 221,000 adverts were posted in the first week of the month across all sectors, taking the number of advertised roles up to a record high of 2.68 million, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which tracks the number of job vacancy adverts.
Despite labour shortages, material shortages, and a slight reduction in the industry’s growth in recent months, the construction industry is still thriving. But that’s not to say there is no strain; a survey run by the Federation of Master Builders State of Trade found that 53% of builders are finding it hard to hire carpenters, and 47% can’t find enough bricklayers. 98% of those who responded also noted a substantial increase in the cost of materials.
The Guardian reported on construction business owner Sebastian Przetakowski, who describes the difficulties faced by skills shortages following the double impact of Brexit and Covid. He notes that there is plenty of work coming in after the pandemic, particularly ‘from people with money for projects like extensions and loft conversions’. But he is struggling to find the a big enough workforce to complete the work that’s on offer, and fulfill the demand:
‘I’m fully booked up to next year, and can’t take on any jobs because I can’t get the people. Everyone is struggling to find workers’.
The answer, then, is more workers. More skilled tradespeople who can make sure the constant demand for construction work is met. Przetakowski mentioned in the report that, despite his reduced workforce, those who are working for him have had a pay rise, ‘in order to reward them in some way’ for the extra workload they have been given. Doesn’t that sound like a promising trade-off?
So with construction vacancies at a record-breaking high, where will it go from here? Ian Anfield, the managing director of payroll firm Hudson Contract, suggests that it’s going to continue climbing. Although the end of lockdown support schemes helped get a number of people back into work, ‘there is still stiff competition for skilled labour and plenty of work for those who want it’, he says:
‘Demand for labour at this time of year is always high with clients and subcontractors wanting to get things done and earn some money before Christmas and the onset of the worst weather conditions in January’.
The long and short of it is, the construction industry will reward you highly. It will give you a career for life, and while demand is soaring, the pay is good. It is an indispensible industry, and one that needs your help.
By Spring, Anfield predicts, productivity rates will be back at their pre-Christmas levels, and it’s only upwards from there. You can become a fully qualified tradesperson in this time – you just have to go for it. Reap the rewards of a highly productive, highly fulfilling industry. Get involved, get working, and get earning.
Call Access Training today and find out how we can make it a reality for you.
Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.