Builders hit by worst skills crisis in decades

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YORKSHIRE and Humber’s construction industry is facing its greatest skills crisis in almost 20 years, according to a survey released today by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

The quarterly RICS UK Construction Survey shows that the skills shortage in Yorkshire and Humber has reached its highest levels since the survey was launched in 1998.

The survey found that bricklayers and quantity surveyors were in shortest supply.

Half of respondents (50 per cent) reported difficulty sourcing labour, with 52 per cent having difficulty sourcing bricklayers, while 62 per cent also highlighted a shortage of quantity surveyors.

In the same time period in 1998, just 18 per cent of Yorkshire and Humber’s surveyors reported a skills shortage.

Simon Rubinsohn, the chief economist at RICS, said: “While it’s exciting to see that Yorkshire and Humber is experiencing growth across the construction sectors, future growth will only be sustainable if the growing skills crisis is addressed. The availability of both blue collar and white collar construction workers is reaching crisis point. We haven’t witnessed a labour shortage of its kind in nearly 20 years.

“Currently, while we know that there is a serious shortage of skills, we don’t yet know why we have seen such a dramatic drop in the labour market over the past five years.

“Part of the problem is the legacy of the collapse in the sector following the onset of the global financial crisis. Many professionals and other skilled workers chose to leave the industry and quite simply have not returned or been replaced.”