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London Construction Industry Faces Crisis

The current situation for construction recruitment in London is at crisis levels, as it faces major skills shortages across the industry.  

The UK and London in particular are about to embark on record breaking levels of development and infrastructure, as well as the already promised increase in residential housing. For this reason, there needs to be a fundamental change within the industry to ensure all new and existing construction projects can be achieved.

The London construction industry is facing several major challenges, the biggest and most damaging being its aging work force.  According to the CITB, over 400,000 workers in the industry are expected to retire within the next 10 years, and the next generation of workers simply aren’t there to take their place.

The 2nd challenge is the impending Brexit deal.  In London 1 in 4 construction workers are EU nationals and companies are already struggling to attract good quality skilled EU candidates due to the uncertainty over their futures. If the freedom of movement does become restricted post Brexit, this problem is only set to intensify.

One think tank has suggested a Brickie visa where EU workers are granted a temporary visa to help plug the skills shortage.  Whilst a good idea in principal, it is unlikely to happen as it opens doors for every industry to apply for temporary visas.

More favourable solutions to London’s construction recruitment problem include:

  • School engagement – Construction firms need to find ways to encourage students to enter the industry as many are choosing more academic routes, such as science and mathematics.
  • Apprenticeships – a decade ago an apprenticeship was the number 1 way to get a career, but over time these opportunities have declined. Investment into these schemes could easily save the industry.
  • Embrace women – only 15 per cent of the UK construction industry are women.  By investing in this type of diversity, larger pools of talent can be identified and accessed.

The construction sector has definitely seen some difficult times before and has always bounced back, hopefully finding a long term solution to London’s construction recruitment crisis will soon become a priority.

If you’re looking for a new role within the London construction industry and would like to find out how, please give our recruitment experts a call on 0330 111 5252 or email info@rec-solutions.net.

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