Companies forced to turn work away as skills crisis bites

Many firms across the construction industry are being forced to turn work away as a result of skills shortages, according to new findings from ECIS.

In a survey of 200 tradespeople conducted across various construction sectors, a quarter (24%) said they had struggled to find skilled people in the past year and as a result, half of this group said they had to turn work away. 

Furthermore, almost half (48%) of the survey’s respondents said the skills shortage had put more pressure on them as a business and worryingly, 19% had employed unskilled labour to help meet demands.

Phil Scarrett, sales and marketing director for ECIS, said: “No business wants to turn work away so the feedback from this survey really underlines how serious the skills shortage issue has become.

“With one in five firms resorting to unskilled labour to fulfil contracts and the new Construction and Design Management (CDM) regulations in place from April 6, contractors already under pressure will have their work cut out to ensure workplace risks are properly managed.”

As a result of the shortage of trained workers, ECIS’ survey also found that 87% of those asked would encourage a young person to join their industry. It was also found that due to the shortage of tradespeople, many are finding themselves in a powerful position when negotiating contracts. According the ECIS, this also means that many are no longer considering a change in career thanks to the opportunities in construction. Only 15% have thought about leaving the industry, down significantly from 2014’s figure of 26%.

The new findings from ECIS follow similar studies from the Construction Products Association (CPA), Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC), which have all confirmed that companies across the industry are finding it difficult to hire skilled workers.

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