According to recent reports, the construction industry faces a “cliff edge” skills shortage due to the availability of EU workers, caused by Brexit.
Statistics found that in the UK, 12.6% of construction workers are born in a foreign country. Of this, 5.7% are from European countries. These figures soon begin to rise though when looking at construction workers in cities such as London.
But, even with these workers, the construction industry is already suffering a skills shortage. Caused by an ageing population of workers, there is also a lack of new workers entering the industry. If this is not changed, it is predicted that in the next ten years, the industry’s workforce will have decreased by 20-25%. Mark Farmer stated in his Government report that the industry must: “modernise or die.”
Suggestions have been made about how this can be done. Including offsite construction. According to additional reports, major housebuilders are considering this option. With ‘prefab’ homes, minimal labour would be required in comparison to traditional methods. However, it would still need large financial investments. Take a look at what’s in store for a ‘prefab future’ here.
Whilst the UK has committed to training and recruiting, ‘homegrown talent‘, it is argued that “there will likely remain an ongoing need for significant levels of skilled EU workers.”
Therefore, it has been suggested that a two year transition period should be agreed as soon as possible. Alongside this, it was also recommended that visa systems should be based on sectors that are in short supply. Including construction.
The Home Builders Federation’s John Slaughter stated: “to deliver the national social and economic necessity of an improved housing supply we will also continue to need access to foreign workers under a manageable migration system.”
The Chief Executive of the Federation also added: “We know we need to step up as an industry and train more home-grown talent but we also have to be realistic about the future.”
“There will continue to be some ongoing need for migrant workers and our post-Brexit migration rules will need to be fit for purpose.”
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