Skills shortage for british builders

construction industry

Building companies in London have hired Portuguese bricklayers on £1,000-a-week wages because of a shortage of skilled Britons, a recruitment firm has said.

The finding was revealed by Manpower, whose research is said to have confirmed industry fears of a lack of suitably-trained workers.

Manpower managing director Mark Cahill said he was told the normal £500-a-week pay for bricklayers was being doubled.

The government says it is working with firms to “nurture home-grown talent”.

According to Manpower’s research, prospects in the construction industry are at their strongest level since 2007.

But one-in three large construction firms in London are said to have decided not to bid for projects because of a lack of skilled workers.

James Hick, a spokesman for ManpowerGroup, said while there were no figures available for the numbers of companies that have had to hire workers from Portugal, the report showed there were clearly “very wide issues in terms of available skills for the construction sector as whole”.

“The profession has not been that attractive for new entrants during the downturn, which is combined by an aging workforce and lots of people leaving the sector,” he said.

Meeting the skills shortfall with Apprenticeships

Manpower’s survey of more than 2,000 employers in all sectors suggests larger companies are set to lead a job creation “charge” early next year.

Utilities were found to be the most optimistic industry, on the back of investment by energy firms.

Mr Cahill said: “2015 was a bumper year for jobseekers, with the highest level of job creation in 40 years.”

He said 2016 will begin with employers in an “even more confident position and we are optimistic about job prospects for the rest of the year. The main catalyst is big business hiring”.