A Skill Shortage In The Construction Industry In The UK After Brexit?

 Mary
  Jul 17, 2018

The decision of the UK to leave EU or European Union has had its fair share of controversy. Everyone has been glued in front of the television or followed every news regarding this matter to understand the consequences this historical decision may turn out to have. Well, there has definitely been numerous consequences because of the Brexit. The effect is felt in the construction industry as well. The shortage of skillful workers in the construction industry is one of the biggest issues of all. Brexit, as this step of the UK Government, is popularly called has clearly created a division between the citizens of this country and the other countries within the European Union. It has left hundreds of construction workers in utter disarray because they do not know what to do next and where to work. The construction industry has been hit really bad because of the Brexit and a survey done by FMB (Federation of Master Builders) shows that both small and medium-sized construction companies have seen a rapid decline in the number of workers and as much as 68% of the companies have found it hard to find replacements in several departments such as carpeting and bricklaying. This shows how much of a deficiency there has been post Brexit.

The declining trend of skillful workers

The FMB has presented several shocking data about how the construction industry has lost valuable skillful workers because of the Brexit. Apart from carpenters, joiners and bricklayers, there has been a major dip in the number of floorers, plasterers, electricians, and plumbers. In fact, their data shows that there has been a significant drop of 30% in floorers, 46% in plasterers, 48% in electricians and plumbers. The trend is such that construction companies are not expecting any major turnaround in the workload in the next few years or even a couple of years as a result of the downfall in the number of workers.

What is worse is the fact that wages and salaries and material prices are expected to shoot to 61% and 82% respectively. This means, the expected profit made by the builders will not increase, but the expense is going to rise bringing the profit margin down to a great extent. This has brought into question the building of new infrastructure projects or even homes. The government had already set a target of building 300,000 homes in England every year, but with skill shortage shooting high it seems a sorry sight for one and all. The need for bricklayers is very high in this country because that is like the base of the building industry and with almost two-thirds of the workers having to leave the country, it has become a major headache for construction companies. As a consequence of the shortage of workers, there has been an added opportunity for the existing workers to do hours of paid overtime. The pending works are mounting up every day due to the scarcity of workersince it is not possible to reach the daily or monthly targets with the present number of workers. The ratio of overtime wages and salaries is becoming more than the expected work done. Moreover, the resources are getting damages due to natural wear and tear. These all are the reason for the declining profit marginsof construction firms in the UK. Basically, Brexit has not only sucked the life out of the workers but also the construction companies and the people who were expecting new homes to move in.

Losing interest of workers

As a direct consequence of the decline in skilled workers in the construction industry, UK has become less attractive in the construction front. This industry has become far more vulnerable now and is like a ticking time-bomb for many. The fall in the value of earnings has seen more and more workers shifting from the UK to other European countries to hone their skills. There was a time when the UK was the first choice when it came to the construction industry and worker, both skilled and unskilled wanted to come to the UK because of the plethora of work opportunities. Well, that has definitely taken a U-turn after Brexit and many construction projects have even been halted because of the shortage of workers.

The risk factor of workers

Brexit has hit the construction industry really hard. Experts predict this is not going to dissipate in near future unless the UK Government takes some drastic steps. The absence of skilled workers in this industry has increased the need for workers more than ever. The desperation has reached to such an extent that many companies are hiring workers who have less experience or even not skilled enough to accomplish the jobs accurately. This is a huge risk and it has increased the life risk of the workers that are being hired. With less experience in the construction industry, there are more chances of accidents taking place in the workplace despite some of the liabilities can be covered by construction insurance policies. The quality of work may also deteriorate.It is a chain reaction and what follows is a prolonged absence from work of the injured workers and then the same headache of not finding appropriate people with enough experience in construction. Buyers may also lose faith in the construction companies.

What lies ahead?

There is no denying that Brexit has had a terrible consequence amongst workers of the construction industry. It has brought on a period of unwanted turmoil and the skill shortage is at its highest. Researches show that 64% people in the construction industry believe that Brexit has had a very negative impact for this sector and already 24% of these people already considering the possibilities of the situation turning worse in the next couple of years. Labor is important and indispensable for almost every industry, but the construction firms require it more because there are hardly any machines that can substitute the manual works. So, this crisis of skilled labors after Brexit has turned the construction into a living graveyard.

A Skill Shortage In The Construction Industry In The UK After Brexit?

Mary


Mary is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from New York, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Mary specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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