The ‘Report on Jobs’ found that the sector was in joint-first place out of nine in the table of demand for permanent staff, after the July index figure was recorded at 68.3, up from 58.6 in June. The rate of expansion was above the UK average of 63.2, and was on equal footing with engineering, which is also in need of more skilled workers.
The equivalent index for temporary or contract construction workers was 69.6, up from 61.0 in June (the UK average for short-term workers was 62.2).
Bernard Brown, partner at KPMG, said: “It is clear we are in the grip of an industry wide skills shortage, which shows no signs of abating. Businesses are struggling to find the talent they need and this will have long term implications for their growth plans and potentially impact the wider performance of the UK’s economy.
“The construction industry in particular is struggling to keep pace with demand, with businesses heavily recruiting both permanent and temporary workers. The risk is that a shortage of skilled labour in this sector could impede Britain’s major building projects and put the brakes on the country’s booming real estate market.
“The likelihood is, we will see no immediate improvement to this situation. We are already seeing hints of a summer slowdown, as both businesses and candidates put their jobs plans on hold and take holiday over August.”
Kevin Green, chief executive of REC, added: “The shortage of construction workers is a particular concern. If construction companies don’t have the people they need, both infrastructure projects and house building will be constrained, and this will have an impact on wider economic growth.”
The shortage of skills in the construction sector has built for months, with a survey released in January 2015 by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) claiming 224,000 new jobs would be created by 2019 that employers could struggle to fill.
Mr. Green continued: “The focus for business and Government has to be on making sure that people entering the workforce have the best opportunities to succeed. Businesses need to be prepared to hire staff with potential and invest in their development. We need the Government to provide more effective careers advice and encourage people to study the right subjects. And while these changes are feeding through into the jobs market, we need a sensible and balanced approach to immigration so that employers have access to the workers they need.”