Construction skills shortage

The construction industry is still suffering a skills shortage despite the recession and downturn in construction demand, a new survey has found.The Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) third annual skills survey questioned 1182 construction industry professionals. Some 77% of respondents believe there is a skills shortage in construction and 78% of those feel that the loss of skills will hinder the industry's recovery when the economy improves.

Of those questioned 54% state that their company has had to make redundancies, and 14% expect redundancies to occur.

There is great concern about the number of students entering the industry with 51% believing this factor will contribute to skill shortages worsening over the next few years. The results show that only 12% of respondents are aware of their companies recruiting more graduates, and only 1% are recruiting the same number of graduates as before.

Only 37% of respondents are sure their companies are still employing apprentices while 11% state that their companies usually employ apprentices, but cannot afford to in the current economic climate.

Michael Brown CIOB deputy chief executive said; "Construction has been notoriously bad at attracting students, and other new entrants, which has exasperated the industry's long-term skills development. There is no denying the importance of graduate and apprentice recruitment as these employees represent the future of the industry. Over three quarters (76%) of all respondents felt apprenticeships should be mandatory on public projects, which would help to encourage the employment of apprentices. However, economic problems are forcing many companies to recruit fewer graduates and to cut the number of apprenticeships - just to survive.

"There is a danger that once the industry demand rises, and recruitment increases, there will be a mass of previously skilled workers who choose not to return to the industry having opted for other careers. The industry has never fully recovered from the recession in the 90's, particularly at the management and senior management level. We must learn from those lessons and find ways to put in place the vital skills needed for recovery and beyond."

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