The industry’s skills shortage appears to be easing, but is still hurting businesses, according to a survey by the National Specialist Contractors Council.
The NSCC’s state of trade survey for the second quarter of this year found that the hardest vacancies to fill were for painters and glaziers.

Some 77% of firms reported difficulties in hiring skilled labour, and 12% of firms said staff shortages prevented them from bidding for work.

The survey indicated that the easing labour market was coinciding with a fall in demand. The survey found that the balance of firms reporting an increase in orders, compared with those reporting a decrease, fell from 43% in the first quarter of the year to 9%.

The latest DTI figures show that orders overall rose 3% in the year to June. Orders in the second quarter of this year fell 2% compared with the same period the year before.

The NSCC survey also found that retention abuse was experienced by 85% of respondents.