Construction shortage

Britain needs 400,000 workers per year to meet construction demand

Britain must recruit one worker every 77 seconds over the next five years in order to meet the nation’s construction needs, new research has revealed.


Engineering consultant Arcadis claimed that 400,000 new workers will be needed each year to build enough homes and infrastructure, independent of any potential Brexit effect.

The news comes amid fears of a major skills shortage in the UK construction sector, which has been fuelled by recent claims from mayor of London Sadiq Khan that more than a quarter of the capital’s 350,000 building workforce is from the EU.

“When I speak to businesses – both large and small – one of the biggest issues they raise with me is the skills gap,” Mr Khan warned.

“They tell me that maintaining a skilled workforce is absolutely crucial to their future and the future of the whole economy.

“…You can't escape the fact that a 'hard Brexit' could leave a quarter of the skilled construction workforce in the capital high and dry, which would have a crippling effect on our plans to build the homes Londoners so desperately need.”

Arcadis suggested the skills gap must be resolved extremely quickly if Britain is to achieve its aims of building more housing, roads and rail.

In the short term, the company advocated recruiting from other industries, improving efficiency and increasing supervision to raise productivity.

The research also stated that the government could help by looking to secure the rights of EU workers in UK construction and greatly simplifying the visa system.

James Bryce, director of strategic workforce planning, UK leadership and management at Arcadis, added: “It is not as simple as just training more people or using robots.

“Getting the right people in the right places to do the right jobs is massively complex.”

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