As the UK hurtles towards Brexit, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have found that over half of construction workers deem labour shortages to be a serious challenge.
A survey by OnePoll revealed that although the UK construction market is expected to grow over the next twelve months, 53% of construction workers (especially those from London and senior/middle managers), are concerned about a Brexit-induced skills gap.
A report published by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) revealed that UK businesses are finding it “notably harder” to recruit skilled staff as a result of a fall in net migration.
Earlier in the year, the RICS reported that an estimated 8% of construction workers are EU nationals, accounting for roughly 176,500 people. With such a large proportion of international workers, the construction industry has been very vocal regarding the risks of Brexit since last year’s referendum.
In March, the group created a concrete timeline and exerted great effort to invite foreign investment, demanding that the Government pursue for skilled international workers to be able to come to the UK, for an agreement to be reached swiftly for the “passporting” of professional services and for it to seize the opportunity to reset British agriculture by leaving the Common Agriculture Policy.
Although Barry Cullen of RICS embraced the newly introduced apprenticeship levy, which the survey found is increasing the industry’s pool of talent, he noted that it needed post-Brexit assurances. “With Britain set to leave the European market, we must ensure that we are not left in a skills vacuum”, he said.
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist, said: “If, as we expect, Brexit negotiations continue to progress slowly, more firms will activate Brexit contingency plans, freeing up space and sapping demand for new commercial projects”.
David Lewis, managing director, integra people, warrington