Construction wages on the rise as skill shortage looms

SALARIES IN the construction sector have risen up to 20 per cent in the last year, as major projects drive demand for skills in Yorkshire.

Westfield Broadway Bradford development

Research from recruitment firm Hays found average wage inflation of 1.8 per cent across the region.

However, some specialist roles in construction command between 16 and 20 per cent higher pay than a year ago.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Pam Lindsay-Dunn, regional managing director of Hays in Yorkshire, said skills shortages are behind the sharp rise in wages.

Projects such as Bradford’s Westfield shopping centre, Halifax’s Piece Hall and Leeds’ Kirkstall Forge have driven demand for highly-skilled workers.

Ms Lindsay-Dunn told The Yorkshire Post: “The last three to five years has been slow for the construction and property sectors, but people with specialist skills, such as quantity surveyors, are now in high demand.

“Professional skills are in such short supply that when we do get an experienced quantity surveyor come through, at any one time they can have three or four offers.”

Chancellor George Osborne cited the strength of construction in Yorkshire and the Humber as one of the key arguments for building a “Northern Powerhouse” earlier this year.

Ms Lindsay-Dunn predicted further growth in the next 12 months in specialised sectors such as engineering.

She said: “There has been a lack of investment in the engineering sector, but now clients are going back into growth, that is set for change.”

The survey also found double-digit rises in IT and finance jobs, while HR and marketing saw more modest increases.

Almost a third of employers (61 per cent) in Yorkshire said they were planning salary increases in the coming year, while 71 per cent said they planned to hire.

However, more than four out of five (84 per cent) are concerned about a lack of suitable candidates.

Hays said growing confidence in the market is also reflected among employees. Three out of five respondents in Yorkshire said they were considering a job move this year.

While dissatisfaction with pay was the primary reason for a move, lack of opportunity in current positions was also cited as a key factor.

Ms Lindsay-Dunn said this doesn’t match businesses’ plans for expansion.

“It suggests there is not enough communication between employers and employees,” she added.