Shortages of Blue Collar workers continue rising in the UK
UK employers are facing significant challenges when it comes to both recruiting and retaining manual and elementary service workers – a new study has revealed.
The report, developed by workforce management expert Quinyx found that nearly half (49%) of UK employers struggle to recruit these workers, with the same percentage reporting challenges around retention. Issues with recruitment and retention were discovered to be most acute in industries such as hospitality, catering & leisure and retail. In addition, larger businesses (those with a workforce of 250 to 500) are more likely to face challenges compared to smaller-sized businesses.
The UK’s construction industry is healthy and growing with continued housing demands; especially in highly populated areas. To meet this need and help people get on the property ladder, the British Government has set lofty ambitions of delivering an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
There’s also demand for new office and commercial spaces and many large infrastructure projects, like Hinkley Point C and High Speed 2, are already in the works. Just last year, in 2017, the government released a report which revealed a healthy construction pipeline and forecasted that over the next ten years, public and private investors intend to fund £600bn in infrastructure projects.
IS THERE A SKILL SHORTAGE IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY?
The UK construction sector is one of the country's leading economic drivers, however a perceived shortage of skilled professionals is becoming a challenge for a field that relies on its workforce more than most.
Although the construction industry looks to be on solid ground, the foundations are slowly eroding away and employers fear that there aren't enough bricklayers, plumbers and project managers coming through to repair them.
In a report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the skill shortage in construction and engineering was described as 'critical'. Although the number of job opportunities are rising, the number of suitable candidates isn't and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) estimates that more than 36,000 new workers a year will be needed to cover current demand. This is easier said than done though, as more than half of employers are finding it difficult to fill skilled vacancies.
HOW BREXIT WILL AFFECT THE SITUATION?
According to Quinyx’s research, business leaders working in organisations with a blue-collar workforce predict that they will lose 18% of that workforce as a result of Brexit, with over a fifth (22%) saying they expect to lose 31% or more. Particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in the workforce are logistics and healthcare businesses.
Looking further ahead, many businesses are wary about talent pipelines post-Brexit. Nearly half (49%) of employers said that they expect Brexit to have a negative impact on their future recruitment of manual and elementary service workers – with 15% expecting it to be severe.