Nine in 10 specialists say projects negatively impacted by skilled labour shortage

More than a third of UK construction firms searching for new staff are struggling to find them as workers demand that pay meets rising living costs.

An Autodesk survey of 207 industry professionals showed roughly four in five businesses were actively recruiting to meet their growing contracts book, with 42% saying it would be their biggest investment over the next two years.


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New recruits want pay to match escalating cost of living costs

But 36% say they are struggling to offer competitive salaries due to the upward pressure on wages created by the cost-of-living crisis and the tight labour market.

More than two in five (42%) say that there is a shortage of labour due to Brexit, with electricians (51%), bricklayers (49%) and plumbers (41%) the roles in highest demand.

Skills in augmented reality (23%) and virtual reality (23%) are set to be some of the most sought-after skills in the next decade, according to the software firm.

Autodesk’s director of construction strategy Matt Keen said the industry “must invest in the next generation of skilled workers and emerging technologies that are increasingly shaping the built environment now in order to compete for talent, and present construction as an attractive career path for the decades to come”.

A report released by Dodge Construction Network, in partnership with construction management software firm Procore, highlighted the same issue, with more than 90% of specialist contractors reporting that their projects had been negatively impacted by the skilled labour shortage.

The report argues that the problem is likely to get worse without action, claiming that 33% of the current workforce is likely to retire in the next five years.

Amit Oberoi, non-executive chair of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, said the sector needed to embrace the “chance to reset our approach to the workforce”.

“We need to attract new workers to the industry, whether that’s entry level candidates just starting out or people switching careers.

“Improving equality, diversity and inclusion will help to bring new kinds of talent to construction, particularly as new technologies and methods of construction are adopted,” he said.