Like a number of other industries in the UK, the construction industry is in the midst of a skills shortage. While many look to Brexit as a partial explanation of the continuing struggles of finding qualified staff, the focus should also be on internal processes which make finding skilled workers a costly and time-consuming process.
The skill shortage
The construction sector in the UK generated almost £90 billion each year (6.7% of GDP), employing over 2.93 million people (10% of UK employment). And, as the government pledges to boost house-building in the face of the housing crisis, skilled workers are more in-demand than ever. With this in mind, it’s puzzling why construction companies aren’t doing more to foster the skill development in existing staff.
The skills shortage isn’t the only problem facing construction. With an ageing population, the rate of retirement is set to increase as 22% of the workforce are now over 50 with 15% in their 60s, while the pool of new talent is on a decline due to falling birth rates. If stricter immigration policies come into place, this could reduce the talent pool further.
The construction industry has the knowledge and capital available to produce skilled workers from within. Doing so will mean skilled workers come with years of experience, in-depth knowledge of the organisation, and loyalty. However, building this can be costly if it’s not done right.
The average salary in construction stands around £31,000, with plenty of opportunities for higher-paying roles and lower-paying entry-level jobs. Despite the opportunity for high earnings, work in the construction industry sometimes has a poor image among young people. Jobs in construction can prove equally as lucrative and beneficial for personal development as something like medicine or law.
Construction includes engineering, architecture, project management, quantity surveying, town planning, office management, and consultancy. If construction companies want to open up to a wider talent pool there needs to be focus on image management. But the fact that only 1% of construction employers look to take on apprentices or inexperienced staff members doesn’t help. This is in spite of the £1 billion government investment in training and apprenticeship schemes.
Construction companies need better ways to train existing staff members to skill-up the workforce efficiently and effectively. Running advanced training programmes is costly, time-consuming, and requires you to take risks on inexperienced staff members. This might be why, on average, a lower proportion of firms in construction provide training compared to other sectors. They rely more on outside programmes to meet requirements. This is not sustainable in an uncertain recruitment market.
Construction companies need to focus on providing the right quantity of training to the right staff in the most efficient and productive way possible. As with most advances in the industry, achieving this will come from the use of tailored software to produce efficiency in the training process.
Inform People is a tailored platform which removes the common problems associated with running multi-national and large construction companies across regions with high staff volume. With detailed training tools, staff can plan, develop, organise, assign, and monitor training with instant notifications, RSVPs, and attendance monitoring. To see the other useful tools for construction, visit our website or call us on 0161 713 4104.