The latest survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed that labour shortages in the construction industry are at their highest level since 2005.
Three main trades make up almost the whole of this shortfall: bricklayers, carpenters and plasterers. The FMB reports that during 2006, the proportion of members reporting that they were experiencing difficulty obtaining sufficient labour averaged 40%.
This continued at around the same level in the first quarter of 2007. However, in the past three months (May to June), members have indicated that difficulty in either recruiting direct employees or hiring sub-contractors has jumped to 53%; its highest level since 2005.
FMB external affairs Director Brian Berry, said of the findings:
“What this survey reveals is that yet again our education system needs to be refocused to enable young people to have the skills which the UK is so badly lacking.”
He continued, “rather than just focusing on academic higher education the Government should be thinking more about enabling young people to learn a trade for which there is so much demand and which underpins the long term competitiveness of UK plc.”
The FMB survey also reveals that the number of firms reporting delays of more than two weeks in the supply of building materials has more than doubled from 6% in the first quarter of 2007 to 16% in the second quarter of 2007.