After new research revealed that more than half of firms are struggling to hire tradespeople, there are renewed calls for the construction industry to create more apprenticeships and bridge the skills gap by attracting more workers into the sector.
According to IronmongeryDirect’s More Skills Required report, one in every six people (16%) said it took more than three weeks to find a suitable tradesperson, 13% said it took up to two weeks, and nearly a quarter (24%) had to look for a week to find someone.
When trying to find a person for the job, two-thirds of the 1,000 respondents noticed a shortage of skilled professionals.
A further third (33%) stated that they noticed a shortage but were eventually able to find someone, while 3% stated that they noticed a shortage but were unable to find anyone suitable to do the job.
Even among those who did not notice a shortage, more than a quarter (26%) said they had to call around to find a tradesperson because many were busy.
“There has been a lot of discussion in the construction sector recently about the growing skills shortage and how the crisis will affect the industry in the future if the problem isn’t addressed,” said Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director at IronmongeryDirect.
“Based on our research, we can already see that the shortage is affecting the UK’s ability to find skilled tradespeople.” However, it did show that things aren’t too bad just yet, as 48 percent of people are able to find a suitable tradesperson within a couple of days.
“However, Britain’s impending exit from the EU is likely to have an impact on the labour force, so it’s critical that the sector takes immediate action to bridge the skills gap and keep the problem from worsening.”
“Creating more apprenticeships is one way to attract more talent and skills to the sector.” Currently, there aren’t enough young people entering the profession to meet current job demands, let alone replace the number of workers who will soon retire. Firms could also consider upskilling existing employees to improve workforce quality and create more specialist talent to take on new types of work.
“It’s critical that the entire industry collaborates to promote the variety of rewarding construction careers available in order to attract a new generation of workers before it’s too late.”