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Current skills crisis in the construction industry a ‘ticking time bomb’

The current skills crisis in the construction industry could be exacerbated even further post-Brexit unless more work is put into developing talent pipelines, according to One Way.

An analysis by the specialist construction and rail recruiter found that employers must focus on bringing more talent into the industry if it’s to meet the shortfall of skills outlined in a recent study from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. According to the trade body, 175,500 construction professionals – or 8% of the workforce – are EU nationals and could be forced to leave the UK if we lose access to the single market. In addition, up to half a billion pounds worth of infrastructure projects could be jeopardised which would land a sharp blow to the global competitiveness of major UK cities.

Paul Payne, Managing Director of One Way, comments.

“The construction industry is already in the midst of a major, ongoing skills shortage and that’s set to reach crisis levels once we leave the EU if nothing is done in the coming months. The industry is a ticking time-bomb and currently there’s no strategy to deal with the loss of nearly 200,000 professionals that we’re likely to experience. A further study revealed that two-thirds of firms have already turned away work because of the lack of skills and that’s before we’ve lost an additional 8% of the workforce. It’s baffling to think that the issue has been allowed to spiral out of control for so long, but a major productivity downturn could spring some employers into action.”

“Much more work needs to go into promoting construction as a serious career choice to the millions of youngsters who currently wouldn’t even have it on their radar. By developing robust and long-term pipelines of people into the industry we will have a chance to tackle skills shortages before they begin to have a cataclysmic impact on the sector. This would inevitably knock on to the wider economy as the industry contributes around 7% to GDP every year. We can’t stress how important we feel this to be, it’s essentially either a choice between investing in talent or watching the UK construction industry shrink and struggle to complete projects.”