Labour Shortage In Construction – How Is The Industry Coping? 

With a record high of 1.3 million job vacancies over the past three months, many UK industries are suffering from staff shortages, among which the construction, repair and maintenance sector stands out as one of the most affected. 

Claims.co.uk, whose work in conjunction with National Accident Helpline and National Accident Law helps provide free injury guidance to those affected by injuries that weren’t their fault, conducted a study into the British job market in 2022.  

By analysing the current job listings on Indeed, the professional role advertising platform, the company sought to understand which industries have been most affected by the UK’s current labour shortage. 

With 69,399 job listings on Indeed between the last two weeks of June, the healthcare industry ranks number one for the one most disrupted by this current crisis. More specifically, care workers are the most in-demand within the healthcare professions, with over 18,395 job listings. 

The second most in need is the retail and wholesale industry, with 33,587 job listings available on Indeed in the same period. Product managers (6,734) and sales assistants (5,397) are the most in-demand jobs within this industry.  

The construction, repair and maintenance services industry ranks sixth-most in need of workers, reaching over 11,455 job listings on Indeed. Accounting for around 7% of economic output and employing approximately 1.4 million workers, the construction industry is a key component of British economy. 

However, though it seemingly isn’t the sector most deeply affected by this labour shortage, a multitude of factors have combined to make 2022 a very tricky year for construction workers. 

Supply chain chaos, spiralling inflation, delayed materials and a vanishing pool of workers have resulted in unprecedented financial pressure on the industry, and, for some, the burden has become too heavy to bear. 

Record numbers of construction firms are collapsing, with an average of 266 businesses per month going under in the three months leading up to October 2021. These are the largest numbers the country has seen since before the pandemic and, with the current increases in cost of living, there is little hope things will turn around quickly. 

However, the future isn’t all dark. If all planned projects go ahead as scheduled, over a quarter of a million extra construction workers may be needed by 2026, according to the latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) report.  

The report provides insights into the UK construction economy and its future labour needs. The data it produces highlights forecasted trends and how the industry is expected to change year-on-year, allowing governments and businesses to understand the current climate and plan for the future. 

Looking at the next five years, the report acknowledges the substantial recruitment and training challenges the industry is facing, only further exacerbated by Brexit and changes in immigration laws, and has made the following key predictions for the period between 2022 and 2026: 

  • 266,000 additional workers will be required to meet UK construction demand by 2026 (53,200 workers per year, up from last year’s figure of 43,000)  
  • All nine English regions plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to experience growth, resulting in increased demand for workers. 

This recruitment urgency may end up resulting in contractors seeing no other alternative but to hire younger, less qualified workers, which could in turn subject the industry to even higher numbers of workplace accidents and injuries than the abysmal ones it already has. 

What have your experiences of this labour shortage been like? Has your business been affected? Why not get in touch in the comments below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you! 

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