Despite fears over Brexit, in recent month’s construction industry experts have seen wages skyrocket as the UK tries to keep building projects on track, despite fears over recruitment troubles in the future.
In a report undertaken by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and made up of construction recruitment businesses, bricklayers are currently taking home on average £1000 a week! Over 60 % of all recruitment agencies that offer temporary and permanent staff to the construction industry are reporting huge increases to the number of requests for temporary workers. A further 70% of recruitment agencies are declaring that the shortage of bricklayers and skilled construction candidates is posing a huge risk to their businesses, as demand is so high and they are unable to fulfil the needs of their clients.
The rise in wages is there to entice those with the relevant skills to come forward and take part in the projects, ensuring the UK infrastructure can follow its timelines and budgets. The increase in London is said to be so high that bricklayers can now expect to earn up to £25 an hour! These problems of too few candidates however are not new!
Many construction companies say that even before Britain voted to leave the EU there were severe skills shortages for the needs of their businesses. Now with negotiations well and truly underway, many fear that the situation could get even worse as non-EU nationals may no longer want to, or be able to, work in the UK for these big companies.
These findings are all supported by employment data published by the Office for National Statistics. Their data shows that each year construction industry wages have risen by a huge 7.5%, when most other industries are noticing between 1 – 4% pay rises. Over the last few years the construction industry has been one of the biggest job creator industries in the UK, starting back in 2015 when there were 2,238,000 jobs. This meant that the industry made up 25% of the whole job market, a percentage that is rarely seen from just one industry sector!
These pay rises are great news for those with the skills, but it does beg the question of how sustainable this method of attracting new employees could be? There is a real recruitment problem in the industry and leaving the EU is only set to intensify this. Over the last few years the government has started to focus on apprenticeships again which is where many of the older construction workforce first their learnt their trade. However, even if school leavers undertake an apprenticeship in construction they are unlikely to have the skills required for the jobs for many years, leaving a huge skills shortage for the next five years!
What recruitment steps the construction industry plans to take are unknown, but for now those in the industry can enjoy the high wages and extra bonuses! If you’d like to explore a career in construction, please contact one of our experienced building employment experts on 0330 111 5353.