Latest ONS figures again highlight need for skilled workers

TOffice for National Statisticshe latest Output in the Construction Industry report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has highlighted the growing need for a larger construction workforce in the UK, as output fell in November 2015.

The report showed that in November 2015, output in the construction industry was estimated to have decreased by 0.5% compared with October 2015 and 1.1% when compared with November 2014.

When considering the total output across the three months, September 2015 to November 2015, with the previous three months, June 2015 to August 2015, construction output fell by 1.4%.

Corry Bourke, director of portfolio management at Urban Exposure, commented: “The figures highlight that the UK is struggling to build enough homes as well as the constraints in the sector regarding planning, the shortage of key materials and a skilled workforce.

“Despite the slowdown in construction output, there is optimism in the industry as the PMI is above 50, but it will be essential for the Government to bring forward its programme to build 400,000 new homes. Equally it’s important that some of the £7bn being pledged is used to tackle the skill shortages to ensure productivity gains are achieved in the near future.”

Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad CPE, commented: “The UK literally needs an army of builders. Or more precisely, twelve armies – given the need for a million extra construction workers by 2020.

“To get anywhere near that target, the UK needs a radical training programme – and in the meantime a serious and strategic reassessment of priorities. Projects planned for the next few years – from infrastructure to the housing challenge – will be competing against one another for the right people to do the job. Skills shortages will define UK construction and engineering for years to come – if not decades.”

The full report from the Office for National Statistics can be viewed here.