Skills shortages boosting pay of construction workers

A skills shortage in the construction sector has pushed the wages of bricklayers higher, according to new research.

Figures from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) show that those with bricklaying skills can now command as much as £25 an hour for their services.

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The group’s latest study finds that bricklayer roles are proving particularly difficult for construction businesses to fill. In some instances, bricklayers are said to be earning a weekly sum of up to £1,000, with high wages notably on offer in London.

Figures from CITB’s Construction Skills Network report show that 2,870 bricklaying jobs will be created every year between now and 2020.

Highlighting the improved wages which are on offer to those with the right skills, REC chief executive Kevin Green said construction workers can now expect to earn £34 more each week compared to last year.

He added: “Our data indicates that some employers are increasing pay faster as the competition for skilled workers intensifies.”

On the one hand, Mr Green said the wage improvements offer good news for the country’s builders and tradespeople.

However, on the other hand, he said the current situation poses questions about how sustainable the trend is.

The expert said: “The UK is close to full employment and building firms are already struggling to find the people needed for major infrastructure projects.”

Looking at the longer-term picture, Mr Green said efforts must be made to tackle “deep-seated skills shortages” through measures including apprenticeships and improved careers guidance in schools.

Employers are also being urged to invest more in skills development, and more work experience opportunities could be made available across the construction sector.

Last year, CITB launched the industry’s careers website ‘Go Construct’ to help highlight the wide range of career opportunities available in construction.

CITB also recently announced over £7.5 million in targeted project funding to address the industry’s critical skills needs.

Responding to the findings, a representative from the Government’s Business Department said ministers are keen to give construction firms the power to deliver high-quality apprenticeships.

The spokesperson said apprenticeships “deliver the skills employers and the economy need for growth.”


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