The forecast for the construction industry over the course of the next five years is for growth. However, the current number of skill gaps in the industry have been identified and with projected growth, these gaps could cause a number of challenges for companies. It is thought that Small and Medium sized companies, or SMEs could face the biggest challenges over this five-year period and is thought that specifically there will be a lack of roofers, plumbers and a number of other skilled professionals throughout the industry.
It is estimated that over the course of the next five years the construction industry will see the largest employment growth since the recession. It is predicted that employment in the industry will reach 2.6 million. Predictions show that around 179,000 more jobs will be created which will lead to a 1.7% growth in the sector. This growth is occurring with the infrastructure set to increase by 5.4%, it is thought that the push towards increasing the number of houses that are being built is also impacting the number of new jobs that a becoming available. In order to meet the growing demand for new homes it is thought that there needs to be around 220,000 new homes created.
All of this positive news is quite misleading, as SMEs have been experiencing a high number of skill gaps. This means that SMEs have been struggling to hire the correct people for their businesses. Therefore, is the industry is set to expand, SMEs will be left with more job openings that they can’t fill because of the skill deficit. The skill deficit comes from all professions in the sector and not just the trades such as carpenter and bricklayers. The Federation of Master Builders have said that they have found 46% of SMEs in the construction industry have said that they are struggling to find roofers. 41% of the SMEs asked by the Federation said that they are having difficulty finding plumbers.
The Skills Support for the Workforce project has been set up in order to help SMEs fill the skill gaps they may have as well as increase the companies’ business growth. The scheme offers staff development which occurs through training that is carried out by professionals and comes at no extra cost to the business.