Latest RICS survey finds 51% of firms say there are insufficient workers to meet demand


Fears of skills shortages in the construction industry hit their highest level for six years in the second quarter of 2014, with 51% of firms saying their are insufficient workers to meet demand, according to the latest RICS UK construction market survey.

The survey, which reports a balance of positive responses against negative, showed skills shortages were particularly acute in quantity surveying and bricklaying, where 54% and 59% of respondents, on balance, reported shortages respectively.

The survey reported further growth in construction output, with a net balance of 41% of firms reporting increased output in the second quarter, down marginally on 43% in the first quarter.

Workloads rose at a record pace in the Midlands, with a net balance of 57%.

Across the whole of the UK, a net balance of 60% of respondents expect employment to rise over the next 12 months, with London and the South-east outperforming the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland’s employment prospects steadily improving (31%).

Alan Muse, RICS director of built environment, said: “The UK construction market is mirroring the natural consequence of a rise in demand after five subdued years. The upsurge in housing demand is creating pressure across an industry which failed to invest in attracting new talent or in the training of existing employees at the height of the economic downturn and this in turn is creating similar effects among material supply.”

“The good news is that there is reason for optimism, with workloads, profits and employment all forecast to deliver growth over the next 12 months and it is now the responsibility of industry to invest in training and technology to ensure it capitalises on these opportunities.”