At the end of 2014, the construction industry output had grown 7.4% on last year, worth around £121.3 billion in the UK1 – so how can the construction industry possibly keep up with growing demand in 2015?
The biggest contributing factor to the construction boom was new housing, which was up by 23% and has created a surge in jobs of 100,000 over the past two years.
Executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HMF), Stewart Baseley, said: “Recruiting more skilled workers will be key as the industry shapes up to build the homes the country needs. The recent steep increase in house building activity has seen builders across the country recruiting heavily. As the industry increases build rates further, tens of thousands of workers will be needed, from apprentices to skilled professionals.”
FMB chief executive, Brian Berry added: “The skills time bomb has arisen for a number of reasons. Around 400,000 construction workers left the industry since the downturn hit in 2007 and many will never return. If you combine this with an increase in workloads as the economy recovers, all the signs point to the skills shortage getting worse before it gets better.”
Carpenters, joiners and bricklayers are the most difficult positions to fill, but one firm is slowly disarming this threat.
Roger Bristow, manager at UK Construction Recruitment said: “The key to getting construction employment under control is training and recruitment.
“The industry is so big now that we felt the need to specialise solely in construction – this means we have the time, focus and expertise to deal with the recruitment surge.
“We also have a very strong ethos: People work for people. We go the extra mile when it comes to customer service, making sure we treat people correctly, and that we find the perfect person for each job role.
“We go out on site and meet employers so we can get a feel of the company or project, and we meet prospective employees so that we can get to know them and their requirements.
“It’s about being completely honest and consistent – that’s what makes for successful filling of placements.
“The UK is really going places this year, and we all have our part to play. UK Construction Recruitment’s part is to make sure we help the construction industry really take off, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.”