While it is extremely welcoming news that construction is finally picking up across the UK, and expected to rise by 3.4% this year plus a further 5.2% in 2015, according to the Construction Products Association’s latest forecast, growth also brings with it fresh problems. Stockists are currently short of heavyside materials like bricks, while builders can’t get people to lay them.
Indeed Welsh construction work is sharing in the surge, but chartered surveyors there questioned for the quarterly RICS Construction Market Survey reported that a skills shortage was hampering recovery. Apparently between September and December last year, 36% of firms across the country said this was a problem.
The trouble is, it’s not just the housebuilding sector that is seeing improvement in orders – strong growth in the retail, office, industrial and infrastructure sectors has also helped to drive construction activity during the three months to December 2013, according to new Glenigan figures. And they are all competing for trained staff.
The Glenigan Index, which covers the value of projects starting on site from October to December 2013, is up 15% compared with the same period in 2012 as commercial construction activity continues to accelerate.
As a result, everyone is scrabbling for skilled people to come and work for them– and we’re no different at Plastic Surgeon. We may have been luckier that most during the recession, in that our repair expertise has meant that we grew and recruited steadily throughout the dreadful economic downturn – as it’s cheaper for our customers to repair rather than replace damaged building materials. However, even when unemployment was supposedly growing, some of our regions struggled for manpower.
We are still advertising now, but not getting the level and quality of applicants that we require; the southeast and London areas being where we find it most difficult to fill vacancies.
According to recruitment specialist Randstad CPE, the UK construction sector faces a 100,000 worker shortfall by 2050, due to skills shortages, an ageing workforce and predicted migration trends. It also said that the construction and engineering sectors are among the top five employers forecast to be impacted by worker shortages. Here at Plastic Surgeon we only need a handful at a time, but they must have a clean driving licence, good dexterity and a general practical aptitude, plus there is an eye test before training starts to ensure they do not suffer from colour blindness.
With a million young people out of work it is difficult to fathom why a company offering training and above average wages would ever be short of applicants, but that is probably a matter for our politicians to ponder.
What we do say, though, is that as a company we have shown ourselves to be recession-proof, as people will always need our repair service. So if you are looking for job and financial security, high levels of training and support, and the chance to climb the promotions ladder, then Plastic Surgeon is an ideal company to work for. Mobile repair technician jobs – download an Application Form here.