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Skills shortage hindering north-west construction firms

Skills shortage hindering north-west construction firms

The ongoing skills shortage has been blighting the progress of many of the UK's major industries for some time now, with a new report revealing that the leaders of construction firms in the north-west of England are particularly concerned about its impact.This is according to new research from Warrington-based building sector recruiter Ionic, which found that over 80 per cent of north-west constructors believe their firm will be held back by skills shortages in 2016.Of these businesses, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) also struggled with labour shortages this year, while 83 per cent are concerned that their company's finances will be adversely affected by the issue as 2016 gets underway.In light of the skills shortage, many building firms have found themselves upping pay rates for temporary contractors they take on, as this allows them to gain short-term access to the expertise they require.However, 56.5 per cent of survey respondents said these rising outgoing costs were preventing their business from achieving desired growth.Martyn Makinson, managing director of Ionic, commented: "The new year will highlight some old anxieties for many regional contractors. The construction industry has introduced a range of initiatives this year to try to combat the chronic skills shortages; however, the scarcity of key personnel continues to hold back the sector."The health of the industry should be a concern for everyone as its problems resonate."He added that with the profit margins of many construction firms only just getting back on their feet following the recession, skills shortages are hindering their ability to deliver on projects in the most cost and time-effective manner.Ionic's research also found that an increase in house-building activity throughout the country provided more opportunities for construction firms, with 62 per cent of those based in the north-west reporting that they bid for up to 25 per cent more contracts in 2015 compared to the previous year.Some 40 per cent of these contracts related to projects in the residential market, while 37 per cent reported that they had also seen greater demand for the construction of warehouses over the past 12 months. 

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