Recruitment problems unsolved as industry gears up for London 2012.

The skills shortage in the UK could mean the construction industry is heading for a recruitment crisis just as it should be attracting young people to work on projects such as the London Olympic venues, according to new research by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

In a three-month survey 79 per cent of respondents said they had experienced recruitment problems during 2004 and 2005, with 91 per cent anticipating that there would be a continued skills shortage beyond 2005. Difficulties were particularly acute in ‘crafts and trades’, while three in five of those questioned said they struggled to find sufficient semi-skilled manual workers.

The survey revealed a large consensus of people agreeing that a shortage of training placements in the industry was one of the main reasons for recruitment problems. Outsourcing, employer costs and labour-only sub-contracting were cited as the reasons for the lack of such schemes. Many believed that the industry’s poor image was one of the factors deterring people from moving into careers in construction.

Michael Brown, CIOB deputy chief executive, said, “This research reinforces our concern in meeting the future capacity requirements of the construction industry. Urgent attention is needed to attract more young people into our industry. The attraction of projects like the Olympics should provide an opportunity to showcase the industry and attract many more young people.”

The Construction Industry Training Board estimates that the industry will need to recruit 88,000 workers every year for the next five years.