IBS News

Property Wire (UK) 20/5/2009

UK construction industry facing severe skills shortage despite economic downturn

The building industry in the UK is suffering a skills shortage despite the property downturn leading to fewer homes and offices being built, according to new research.

Many believe that the loss of skills will severely hamper the recovery of the industry, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Building shows. Some 77% of respondents to the annual survey said that they believe there is a skills shortage in construction and 78% of those said will be a problem when the economy improves.

Not enough companies are employing apprentices with only 37% saying that they are doing so. Over three quarters, some 76%, said that apprenticeships should be mandatory on public projects. But economic problems are forcing many companies to recruit fewer graduates and to cut the number of apprenticeships.

Redundancy is also severely affecting the industry 54% of respondents saying that their company has had to make redundancies, and 14% expect redundancies to occur. Few expect improvements in 2009. Some 67% expect to see a decline in construction demand in 2009/10.

1. The economic downturn may lead to future skill gaps in construction. The result in UK, may be an indicator to other countries like Malaysia which apparently had suffered a skill shortage even before the economic downturn . When current workers were make redundancy by the firm, it will be a gap in management and senior management position in the future if the economy recover. This is worsen by the fact that the industry is already incapable to attract new workers (trades jobs) and graduates.

2. IBS and MMC may offer a solution to overcome skill shortage in the industry, where on site work will be replaced by automation, robotic and off-site prefabrication and pre-assembly works. but its only replace the gap with another, apart of the cost! deskill? retrain? there is also uncertainty about the level of skills needed for MMC compared with masonry construction.

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