According to new research, there are four main issues that face the construction industry in 2017. Robots. Staff shortages. The value of the pound. And Brexit.

This is according to One Way, leading rail and construction recruitment consultants who have explained the predicted issues. Apparently, the most pressing problem facing the industry is the skills shortage. Managing Director of the company Paul Payne stated “this will be the big one.”

“The number of skilled professionals operating in the industry dropped dramatically during the recession and now around 22% of the workforce are in their 50’s or 60’s.”

“Quite simply, there are too many people retiring and not enough entering construction to replace them.”

“We need to see greater focus on promoting careers to youngsters and professionals looking for a change before we hit a point where productivity is being affected. This needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

However, one possible solution to this skills shortage is the introduction of robotics into the industry. However, whilst this provides some aid to the shortage, it could also cause less jobs for other construction workers. Payne reassures workers though. He states that, “many have suggested that their growth could lead to jobs being cut, but realistically anything like this happening is way off in the distance.”

“For the time being, technology promises to make many of our jobs easier, rather than taking them away.”

Following the decision to leave the EU though, a shadow of doubt has been cast over the construction industry. No one knows exactly the extent to which it will be affected. However, Payne describes that the industry relies on “the skills of overseas workers.”

Consequently, leaving the EU could further impact the skills shortage that the industry is facing. Therefore, Payne recommends that “increasing the numbers of people in the industry before this happens is more important than ever before.”

As a result of the Brexit vote though, the British economy is more uncertain. Therefore, there has been a significant drop in the value of the pound in the months after the vote. Understandably, this will ultimately impact all areas of the economy. However, it may have a particularly strong impact upon the construction industry.

Payne explains that, “a weaker pound means that import prices rise and with so many of our raw materials being brought in from overseas, this could add significant amounts to the bottom lines of builders across the country.”

“Currently, material costs are at their highest point in five and a half years and ultimately this could lead to them squeezing costs elsewhere, for example in staffing, or even having to pass on certain projects.”

Overall, there are a few unknown factors facing the construction industry this year. But with 2016 ending on a high though, there is the possibility for a great year ahead.

What do you think though? Do you agree that these four factors will be issues that you will face in 2017? Or do you think there will be others? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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