Construction industry faces continuing skills shortage

Recruitment shortages and a lack of skills in the construction industry are continuing to blight companies at both senior and junior levels, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Building (BIOC).

Two-thirds (65%) of CIOB members questioned felt that the current workforce was not sufficiently skilled, with 91% anticipating a skills shortage beyond 2005.

Respondents had experienced some difficulty recruiting senior corporate managers, but labourers, administrative and clerical positions recorded the least amount of problems. 

Construction firms also reported that they were unable to take on enough trainees. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents said there was a shortage of training placements, citing the main reasons as employer costs, and labour only sub-contracting and outsourcing.

The prime causes for the construction skills shortage were given as a combination of poor image and greater competition from more attractive industries, as well as current policies for recruiting new entrants.

Michael Brown, BIOC deputy chief executive, said urgent attention is needed to attract more young people into the industry. 

“The attraction of projects like The Olympics should provide an opportunity to showcase the industry and attract many more young people,” he said. 

It is estimated by the Construction Industry Training Board that the industry needs 88,000 recruits every year for the next five years.

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