Building contractors fear for the future impact of skills shortages

Martyn Makinson, managing director of Ionic
Martyn Makinson, managing director of Ionic
Martyn Makinson, managing director of Ionic

New research from construction recruitment specialist Ionic has found that 82% of building contractors in the North West and Midlands believe that skills shortages will have a detrimental effect on their bottom line in 2016.

Particular concerns were expressed by those surveyed over a lack of quantity surveyors, estimators and site based-personnel.

Ionic’s industry perception audit of 100 contractors in Manchester and Tamworth also showed that in 2015, 72.5% of contractors actually did struggle with skills shortages and some 56.5% cited cost inflation for labour / subcontractor rates as a barrier to growth.

Martyn Makinson, managing director of Ionic, said: “The New Year will highlight some old anxieties for many regional contractors. The construction industry has introduced a range of initiatives this year to try to combat the chronic skills shortages; however, the scarcity of key personnel continues to hold back the sector.

“The health of the construction industry should be a concern for everyone as its problems resonate. They impact the cost and delivery of projects from the smallest housing development to large scale. The cost pressures are about supply and demand – and the erosion of profit margins for companies which have only just recovered from the recession.”

Ionic also found increased volatility in the workforce as some 58.5% of North West building contractors experienced an increase in staff turnover in the last 12 months.

With regards to vacancies, 60% reported that the roles were newly created, with the remaining 40% being replaced and just over half 52.5% said they’d had to make a counter offer to retain staff in the last 12 months.

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