How can construction draw in new talent?

A survey of over 350 contractors, conducted by ECIC, has revealed that there is high pressure for the sector to meet demands with the current skills shortage continuing. According to the survey, 78% of contractors admitted they were impacted by the skills shortage, with 56% planning to increase the use of subcontractors to fill the gap.

Market intelligence from Turner and Townsend shows that restricted access to skilled construction labour is in turn contributing to increased tender prices. “As more markets report skills shortages than ever before in the history of this study, it is clear that construction is not doing nearly enough to tackle this issue, which if not addressed has the potential to become a crisis” Comments Steve McGuckin, global managing director for real estate at Turner & Townsend.

He goes on to say that “Against this backdrop, the UK construction industry needs to boost productivity levels. There is an urgent need for contractors and clients to embrace innovative technologies and new methods of construction, as well as using data analytics and better programme management to increase output.”

And the British Property Federation warns that “It is essential that our industry is able to access skilled construction workers from overseas, while continuing its efforts to develop more home-grown talent and resources.” going on to say “We are ready to work with government to find new ways to solve the current skills shortage.”

CIMCIG recently hosted a debate at the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Best a former Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The debate focussed around changing the face of the construction industry. One of the issues is “poor perception” of the construction industry. CIMCIG intends to address this issue, and play a facilitator role in bringing key players from the sector to debate, discuss and pledge on the issue.

Howard Chapman from Buildingtalk, who attended the recent CIMCIG debate at the House of Lords, reports on how the industry can attract a new generation of talent to meet the chronic skills gap. He reports that Mike Lomax, Marketing Communications Manager at Tarmac, and current CIMCIG Chairman, talked about the need to improve the image of the industry, widening its appeal to make it attractive for young people. Lord Best, in his concluding remarks, called on industry leaders to work together to ensure that we don’t have another lost generation of young people failing to see the opportunities in construction.

Apprenticeships are going some way towards the skills crisis with 32% of the contractors surveyed planning to take on more apprentices in the next year. Another answer could be degree apprenticeships. With Exeter University leading the way with a new degree apprenticeship in civil engineering.

How would you change the image of construction? What would you do?

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