According to the Federation of Master Builders, in-demand bricklayers are commanding salaries of £60,000 as small building firms continue to struggle with a growing skills shortage (FMB).
According to the FMB’s State of Trade Survey for the first quarter of the year, more than half of the small construction firms polled believe wages will rise in the next six months.
While the survey found that wages for bricklayers are rising to £60,000 per year in London and around £45,000 per year in the north of England, 55% of respondents said they are having difficulty hiring the trade.
According to the study, which also found that output prices, wages, and material costs are all likely to rise in the next two quarters, SME workloads continued to rise in the three months to March 2016, as more firms reported higher workloads.
Businesses are also anticipating an increase in activity levels in the coming quarter, with the number of respondents predicting increased workloads rising from 22% to 38%.
More than half of respondents (53%) anticipate wage and salary increases this year.
In response to the findings, Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, stated, “More than half of small construction firms anticipate wage and salary increases over the next six months.”
“Given that bricklayers can already command wages of up to £60,000 per year in London and around £45,000 per year in the North of England, it’s clear that the skills shortage is beginning to drive up costs for construction SMEs.”
“A staggering 55% of small construction firms are currently reporting difficulty hiring bricklayers, making these tradespeople the most in-demand of all construction workers.” This specific skills shortage is, of course, linked to the steady growth in private house construction.”
“The results for the first three months of this year show consistent growth among small construction firms in almost every part of the UK,” Berry added.
“Moreover, despite evidence that the EU referendum has caused some uncertainty in the business community, more than two-thirds of firms expect their workloads to increase over the next three months.”
“These findings are encouraging, but skills shortages, and the resulting impact on wages and salaries, remain a major source of concern,” Berry said.
“We need tens of thousands of new and returning construction workers to pick up the slack, or this growth among construction SMEs could come crashing down around us.”
“Through the new Apprenticeship Levy, which is set to go into effect in exactly one year, the government hopes to address skills shortages.”
“However, I’ve spoken with a number of small construction business owners who are concerned about the impact the new funding arrangements, which will go into effect alongside the levy, will have on their ability to hire an apprentice.”
“The government must collaborate closely with the construction industry to ensure that its new system is as simple to use as possible, or we risk seeing apprenticeship training by small firms plummet at precisely the wrong time.”